Boosting Social and Emotional SkillsSeptember 6, 2021
This post is sponsored by Quarto Classroom.
There is a very distinct window for kids to develop key social and emotional learning skills, such as learning to make friends, acting selflessly, and internalizing their emotions. However, in times like these, those special socialization moments are fewer than they were before. Amidst all of the social distancing, it’s imperative to help kids continue to learn and develop key social skills. We’ve compiled a list of five ways that you can impart top social and emotional learning to kids that will help them find the right vocabulary to describe their own individual experiences and identify their feelings.
Empower Kids to Ask the Big Questions (and Find Answers!)
Kids are full of questions, from small observational questions to much larger world-expanding questions like, “What is right and wrong?” or “What happens when we die?” or “What is memory?” But as we all know, sometimes it’s not the question itself that matters so much as the journey toward finding the answer! Teach children to train their busy brains and think outside the box using real-life experiences and moments from their own lives, as well as how to manage disagreements over these questions. Jamia Wilson’s Big Ideas For Young Thinkers explores big ideas from a range of thinkers and encourages kids to decide for themselves where they stand on life’s biggest questions. Check out our guide for asking big questions (and how to find big answers!) here.
Encourage Kids to Become Social Scientists
No two people are exactly alike, so it’s important to teach kids about uplifting messages and actions of inclusivity while challenging preconceived notions that can be harmful. Let youngsters become self-guided social scientists who study life around them, asking questions and making comparisons based on their own personal experiences. How do their own experiences differ from what they have observed? How do their experiences differ from experiences they’ve read about? Are any of these experiences more “important” than others or are they all equal, but different? Vita Murrow, author of Power to the Princess and High-Five to the Hero, has a great set of social science activity sheets, including a KWL (Know, Want to Know, Learned) chart and a Venn Diagram, that help kiddos practice observational and analytical skills, which you can access here.
Find Your Child’s Memory Superpower
Did you know that working memory is a significant predictor of learning success? Keep kid’s memories sharp and confident with games and activities that boost concentration, relieve test anxiety, and encourage healthy study habits. Studies show moving or listening to music while learning makes children more likely to remember information, so consider hosting a lesson on the go or with the score from your favorite movies. Kids will link correct answers with physical actions like walking or the music they hear, and anxiety levels will decrease as kids feel less stress and begin to make automatic associations. Cognitive psychologist Dr. Tracy Packiam Alloway, author of the SEN Superpowers series, is known for her research on working memory, and you can find some of her tips with accompanying memory booster activities here and here.
Help Kids Improve Their Social Skills
Sometimes the subtleties of interacting with people can be hard to learn, especially in a time like this when so many are socially distanced. Help kids hone their social skills (like their manners, empathy, conflict resolution, and more) by reading a book and then mirroring acts of kindness and friendship from the characters! For instance, Clare Helen Welsh, author of the Dot and Duck books, reads her books aloud and then guides children through making their own duck puppets. The duck puppets are designed to help little ones try on different feelings or responses so they can practice in a safe space! Check out Clare’s program, including a read-aloud and duck puppet template, here.
Find Your Inner Animal and Draw it
Social anxiety is on the rise with people of all ages as they are staying home with family more and interacting with new people less. Work with kiddos to help them overcome these challenges by finding their inner animals! Have them look inside themselves and think about what makes them unique, then have them choose which animal they think best matches their personalities traits! Jo Loring-Fisher, author and illustrator of Wolf Girl, encourages kids to use different techniques to create collages of themselves as their favorite animals. allowing kids the freedom to express themselves through illustration, overcome shyness, and find their voices. Find that activity here.
About Quarto Classroom
Quarto Classroom is a free video library on YouTube of Quarto’s creators using their books as teaching tools in educational spaces. Each video focuses on subjects ranging from Engineering to Social Sciences to Arts & Crafts, with Quarto creators guiding students through self-led discussions and projects that make the subjects tangible and practical (and fun!). Many videos are accompanied by additional printable materials so students can follow along, participate in the lesson plans, and take the information they learn from the video into the world. With classes aimed at all ages, the sky is the limit when it comes to at-home learning, and whether you’re looking for a versatile lesson plan or an expert to get down and dirty on a subject, Quarto Classroom videos are the perfect way to ensure children are learning no matter the subject or setting.
Looking for even more lessons that creatively supplement the curricula you’re already teaching? Check out the full Quarto Classroom offering here.
Additional Homeschool Resources
5 Great Ways to Utilize Outdoor Learning (also from Quarto Classroom)