This afternoon, I came upon an advertisement for the F.E.E.L program for kids (Fostering Emotional Education and Learning) on our local community list serve. It piqued my interest because my son has been showing signs of anxiety and has been very emotional lately. I checked out their Facebook page and it has some really great articles about social-emotional learning (SEL) and why it is so important to foster these skills. Not only are the children benefitting from it, but also the Educators and Providers. They are able to connect with their students on another level.
I have to say I am a bit mind blown with all the resources that seem to be out there and that they are still not implemented or easily accessible. There is another great website called CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning) and they have a lot of different programs that involve self-awareness, conflict resolution, community building, meditation, etc. And they have programs for all different ages. I feel like this is the kind of stuff we need to create responsible, successful, healthy and happy citizens.
So why is this so important to me? I guess I feel like because I never had the best test scores, I was never going to be successful. My ideas of success (back in the day) were based on your career – people who made money were doctors and lawyers and only smart people can have those jobs. I was also never taught to take risks or be creative. I was taught to get a job, find a husband, buy a house, etc… in my family – that was considered success for the average folk. No need to pursue your dream if you have a good pension…
I feel like if I was urged to become more self aware and confident at a younger age, my path would have led down a very different one than now. I believe it would make such a difference in classrooms now if we modified teachings to foster creativity, curiosity and independence. Smaller classrooms with meaningful relationships would probably reduce the amount of bullying and aggression that seems to be so prominent these days.
Roots of Empathy was another great organization I found, that introduces students to a mother and baby (over a period of time) and they observe the nurturing between them. This leads to connecting with ones emotions and developing empathy and compassion. It sounds like such a beautiful and organic lesson.