Why Students Need Social and Emotional Learning Now

As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought upheaval to just about every area of life, including school enrollment in Phoenix, AZ. For the last nine months, school learning has been disrupted. Although educators are making the best of the situation within “the new normal,” the fact remains that the new normal has caused a lot of stress, anxiety and depression in children as well as adults. That’s why social and emotional learning (SEL) is so important to child social development in Phoenix, AZ. Students learn how to manage their emotions, maintain positive relationships, achieve their goals and make good choices.

Here’s why SEL is more important than ever, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

What is social and emotional learning?

SEL is designed to teach children and adults how to develop and practice social skills, including dealing with the stresses of life and school, making and keeping friends and having the self-esteem to make the best decisions possible. According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, SEL’s goals are to promote students’ self-awareness, self-management, social-awareness, relationship and responsible decision-making skills, and to improve student attitudes and beliefs about themselves, others and school.

Why do students need SEL?

Why would educators focus on social and emotional skills when students have missed a lot of academic learning this year? SEL teaches students a set of “soft skills” that, when implemented in their lives, actually helps improve their academic performance. Because students are essentially learning how to manage themselves and their relationships, they’re better able to achieve their goals, accept disappointment, refine their approach and maintain the supportive relationships they need.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic has upended school and social lives across the nation, teaching SEL is important. Many students are floundering, cut off from most of their supportive relationships outside the home. They’re reporting feelings of isolation, stress, anxiety and depression as a result—which makes it a lot harder for them to achieve academic success.

Ways to incorporate SEL

Not every school district is able to implement a comprehensive SEL curriculum, especially with budgets stretched thin. However, there are a few ways teachers and students can connect. For example, teachers can establish a “check-in” routine, which helps kids maintain positive, supportive relationships with adults outside their homes. Introducing the concept of “self-care” is also an important way to teach children how to handle the stresses of pandemic and post-pandemic life.

Ideally, these lessons and check-ins can be incorporated into existing lesson plans, regardless of subject or age level. It can be as simple as taking students through a few minutes of mindful breathing, or expand to entire classes. Students who are suffering badly would benefit from more involved SEL practices, both in and out of the classroom.

SEL can be incorporated into schools, and the practice pays off—after all, who doesn’t want a classroom full of successful, well-adjusted students?

Pointe Schools is a K-12 charter school system. For school enrollment information in Phoenix, AZ, call us today.

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