Crane Country Day School Established 1928

Crane School Blog: Focus on Learning

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Social & Emotional Learning Chart (SEL)
Aaron Haddock

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”

-James Baldwin in “Fifth Avenue, Uptown” published in Esquire, July 1960

Whether we are aware of it or not, children are always observing and imitating us. Through engagement with primary caregivers, children learn how to understand themselves, form healthy relationships, manage stress and conflict, pursue ethical solutions to problems, and empathize with others...

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”

-James Baldwin in “Fifth Avenue, Uptown” published in Esquire, July 1960

Whether we are aware of it or not, children are always observing and imitating us. Through engagement with primary caregivers, children learn how to understand themselves, form healthy relationships, manage stress and conflict, pursue ethical solutions to problems, and empathize with others. When children receive consistent messages and opportunities for social-emotional learning across developmental contexts, it dramatically increases the likelihood that they will internalize these skills. 

The Collaborative for Academic and Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has identified five core social-emotional competencies: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Responsible Decision Making, and Relationship Skills. 

Since our children are learning from us anyway, why not become more intentional about modeling these skills? Here are a few concrete ways we, as adults, can model social-emotional skills for children. 

Self-Awareness

  • Notice and name emotional responses in the moment with curiosity instead of judgment. The simple act of recognizing and naming an emotion can reduce negative feelings. 
  • Reflect on emotions and their physical manifestation before taking deliberate action.
  • Modeling emotional awareness and control helps children learn how to effectively deal with frustration, stress, or uncertainty. 

Self-Management

  • Share stories about how you set and plan to achieve personal goals and overcome setbacks. 
  • Demonstrate self-regulating and calming strategies in age-appropriate ways (“I’m feeling a little frustrated, so I’m going to stop and take a breath before I decide what to do next.”).

Social Awareness

  • Exhibit a willingness to compromise and discuss times you had to work to find a mutually agreeable solution. 
  • Model appreciation and acceptance of others’ beliefs and cultural differences. 
  • Treat children’s teachers as partners who can support your parenting.

Responsible Decision-Making

  • Model problem-solving strategies, like gathering all relevant information and weighing options before drawing a conclusion or taking action.
  • Consider how your choices will be viewed through the lens of children.

Relationship Skills

  • Model fairness, respect, and appreciation for others.
  • Try to mend ruptures in relationships and be willing to apologize.

Aaron Haddock
School Psychologist

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