Being a student is a lot of work, but sometimes, the school's classes don't provide everything your child needs. With overcrowded classes, teachers don't have the time to help students develop their physical, intellectual, social, and emotional well-being. Luckily, SEL curriculum offers alternatives that can help your child. If you would like to learn more, check out these four commonly asked questions regarding SEL curriculum.
1. What Is SEL Curriculum?
Schools usually focus on teaching your child the fundamentals regarding math, science, reading, etc. This is great for preparing your child for their future career; however, humans need more than book smarts to strive; they also need social and emotional intelligence. SEL (social-emotional learning) curriculum helps kids learn the social and emotional skills needed to better succeed.
Typically, SEL curriculum involves the classrooms, schools, family, and the entire community. You may also hear SEL referred to as "non-cognitive skills," "soft skills," and "whole child development." Overall, SEL teaches your child the skills they need to apply knowledge/skills and develop healthy identities and emotions.
2. How Does Learning Emotional Skills Help?
Part of SEL curriculum focuses on emotional skills: self-awareness and self-management. Self-awareness refers to your child's ability to identify their thoughts and emotions, as well as how those thoughts and emotions affect their behavior. Self-management refers to how well your child controls those thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
For example, a child who is angry about a family issue may not be able to identify the problem. As a result, they may blame themselves for their negative feelings, which can worsen their mood. They may blame others, or they may try to ignore the problem. Once the child has gained self-awareness and self-management, they can better understand where the anger is coming from and how to better handle those emotions, such as talking to you.
3. How Does Learning Social Skills Help?
The other part of SEL curriculum involves social skills: social awareness and relationship skills. Social awareness teaches your child how to better understand those around them so they can empathize with them, regardless of their background. Relationship skills help your child develop and manage healthy relationships.
This part of SEL curriculum helps your child better interact with other students, teachers, and even you. Students without social awareness or relationship skills are more inclined to be withdrawn, or other students may push them away for being "different." These kids may become lonely and develop mood issues like depression or anxiety.
4. How Does SEL Curriculum Help in the Classroom?
SEL curriculum is designed to help your child socially and emotionally, but these benefits leak into their school life. Students who have better social and emotional skills tend to have better academic success. In fact, a 2014 meta-analysis showed that SEL can raise achievement scores by about 11 percentile points.
Much of this is because your child has fewer things to worry about, so they can better focus on school. If a child is struggling with how to make friends or interact with other students, they may not care as much about getting good grades or doing their homework. Similarly, a child who doesn't understand or can't control their emotions may act out in class, making it harder for them and other students to learn.
Your child's education is incredibly important, but schools often are not allowed to focus on emotional well-being due to outside pressures. If your child doesn't have these skills, they may struggle in school and in relationships. If you would like to know more, or if you want to see your child succeed, talk to your child's school about implementing SEL curriculum and how you would like SEL lesson plans to be incorporated.