School-Age NOTES' thoughts on SEL Activities for After-School and Summer Programs

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Social-Emotional Learning Provides Valuable Development Skills

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Coming soon to School-Age NOTES!


School-Age NOTES is pleased to announce the availability of Social-Emotional Learning Activities for After-School and Summer Programs beginning in January.

What the Studies Tell Us

Studies have shown that social and emotional learning (SEL) play a large role in child develop- ment. After-school programs provide a natural fit for SEL activities.

The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago defines SEL as “a process for helping children and even adults develop the fundamental skills for life effectiveness.”

CASEL identifies five basic sets of skills that are crucial to SEL and can be cultivated in a home, school or after-school setting. The skills are:

  • Self-awareness: Identifying one’s thoughts, feelings and strengths and recognizing how they influence one’s choices and actions.
  • Social awareness: Identifying and understanding the thoughts and feelings of others, respecting their rights and appreciating diversity.
  • Self-management: Establishing and work- ing toward short- and long-term goals, and handling emotions so that they encourage, rather than interfere, with the task.
  • Responsible decision-making: Generating, implementing and evaluating positive and informed solutions to problems, and assum- ing responsibility for personal decisions and behaviors.
  • Relationships skills: Communication, listening and negotiation skills to establish and main- tain healthy and rewarding connections with individuals and groups (http://www.casel.org/ basics/skills.php).

An Important New SEL Resource

A new book on SEL — designed especially for use in after-school programs — will soon be available through School-Age NOTES. Social- Emotional Learning Activities for After-School and Summer Programs, by Susanna Palomares, features more than 75 activities designed to foster the five crucial skill sets identified by CASEL.

Palomares writes in the introduction: While SEL may seem like the warm, fuzzy side of education, a growing body of research shows that social and emotional competence boosts academic achievement. SEL is not just about better social functioning. It’s also about achieving academically. When children possess self-management skills, understand how to get along with others,and build positive relationships, they show improvement on virtually every behavioral measure, including cognitive development and academic performance.

Research also indicates that children with well-developed SEL skills are better able to resist the perils of violence and crime, drug and alcohol abuse, depression, anxiety, eat- ing disorders and teen pregnancy.

In addition to the dozens of activities provided in the book, Palomares offers tips for effective instruction so children get the most out of the activities. And while the activities are fun, reading, writing, listening and the development of speaking skills are integrated into the learning process.

References

Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning. (December 2007). Background on social and emotional learning. Retrieved Octo- ber 4, 2010, at http://www.casel.org/down loads/SEL&CASELbackground.pdf
Palomares, S. (2010) Social-Emotional Learning Activities for After-School and Summer Programs. Wellington, FL: Innerchase Publishing.

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