A great way to integrate SEL into your program can begin with a daily CHECK IN.
Taking the time to connect with every student and to gauge their emotional state helps to set a positive tone for each student’s after school experience. A check in can be a brief group discussion in which you give students the opportunity to discuss their day and how they are currently feeling. It also creates a space where children can learn to empathize with, respect, and listen to others’ feelings. They also are given air time to express how they feel, which not only will reinforce that they are in a safe and caring space, but this can also help turn their day around if it was particularly difficult.
Ask the student follow up questions to learn more about why they are feeling how they feel. For example, “why do you feel sad? What at school or home may be causing you to feel this way?” Next, to take the conversation further, you can try asking them what the opposite of their current emotion is. This will essentially give them a chance to learn about the range of emotions and how they may be able to re-frame or re-direct any negative emotions they may be experiencing. When students have a special connection with their class, it provides a great way to build positive ongoing relationships in the school community. Kids are always amazed at how easy it is to find common ground with younger or older students.
Check in has been proven to increase student’s attention to understanding their emotional state.
- 21 Simple Ways to Integrate Social-Emotional Learning Throughout the Day
Tiana Brown is the Assistant Director of the Norwalk Housing Authority Learning Centers