Social – Emotional Development in School
When we think about learning in school, we think about IQ. In fact EQ (emotional learning) and SQ (social learning) are equally important.
To become a confident, successful adult, your child must learn to wait her turn in line, not interrupt when his friend is talking, use please and thank you, and adjust to new situations like a new teacher. Likewise, your child must learn not to get easily agitated and hit another child from frustration, or start to cry because she did not perform as well as expected.
These skills are called social-emotional self-regulation and, according to research, strongly predict academic success and lead to later success in life, both socially and at work.
- Acting. Children behave in socially appropriate ways. They share and take turns; inhibit aggressive behavior like hitting, pushing and yelling; negotiate solutions to resolve conflicts with peers; and act increasingly independently.
- Feeling. Children understand others’ emotions and regulate their own emotions. They learn to accurately identify their emotions and those of others; to not let strong emotions, like excitement, anger and frustration get out of hand; and to become more empathic and understanding of the perspective of others.
- Thinking. Children regulate attention and thoughts. They focus their attention on the task-at-hand; screen out distractions; and plan steps or strategies to complete a task.
All these skills take time to learn as young children are egocentric and see the world in terms of their own needs. As they grow, they develop greater empathy, learn what is right and wrong, how to cooperate, deal with aggression, how to make and keep friends, become more responsible for their actions, how to better manage their feelings, and control impulsive behavior.
But this learning doesn’t come easily. It needs support and this is not something children typically get from a traditional school where the focus is almost entirely on IQ.
How We Can Support Social-Emotional Development
At Clarion School, EQ and SQ is as important as IQ. We support social-emotional development by providing a positive learning climate for children that is structured, safe, and allows her or him to learn and discover.
In teaching our students, we should:
- Individualize learning to bring out the best in each child
- Address children’s concerns and problems in a sensitive, respectful manner
- Provide opportunities for our children to identify and understand their feelings and emotions and discuss them with others
- Not yell or say negative or sarcastic things to exert control
Teachers need to:
- Be flexible in their planning
- Provide many opportunities for student talk and expression
- Enjoy warm, supportive relationships with their students
- Show respect for the students
- Allow students to freely express their thoughts
- Recognize, embrace, and celebrate diversity
We encourage our children and youth
- To experiment with a variety of activities, materials, and experiences to discover talents and preferences
- To manage their stress in a healthy and positive way
- To engage in critical thinking, problem solving, and supervised risk taking
At the end of the day, we need t0 ensure that children will be their best socially and emotionally as well as intellectually.