Social Emotional Learning at school

Forums Quarterly Parent Focus Childcare Communication Social Emotional Learning at school

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  • #6211
    Avatarjen
    Participant

    I’m posting in Childcare Communication because I’m so pleased with myself for reaching out to the school and sharing this feedback with them. And after hearing episode 300 today, I just had to share it with you too.

    This school year (which started about a month ago) is the first time our school district has formalized social emotional learning (SEL) in every classroom, every day. They explained it to parents at Back to School night, and showed off the charts with characters from the movie Inside Out (Joy who’s yellow, Anger who’s red, Sadness who’s blue, and Disgust, who’s green) and a numbered magnet for each student to move into the box that’s closest to how they’re feeling that day. Teachers have been trained how to lead 20-minute discussions through some aspect of SEL. Here’s the email I wrote to the school counselor and copying Ruby’s teacher:

    Subject: Social-emotional learning is really helping. Thank you.

    Mrs. S,

    Even though this is going to be long, I’m only sending it because I know you’d want to hear both of these good stories.

    Ruby asked me tonight, if I would do a feelings chart with her every day after school, as part of her homework, before screen time. The social-emotional learning at school is normalizing the coping mechanisms that Ruby has been learning in therapy for the past year. It’s showing her that everybody needs to talk about their feelings, not just people in therapy!

    She was telling me about an embarrassing incident at school yesterday. She got corrected in class for doing a “move” wrong (maybe gym class? Or a dance break? Not sure) and she just shrunk into herself, was so ashamed that her mistake was getting attention. A classmate noticed her sadness and asked her what was wrong, then other classmates were asking, and the teacher asked if she was ok, and she just wanted to disappear. She told them she was fine, and everyone moved on. But she wanted to tell ME how very embarrassed she had really been. And I pointed out how much better she felt, now that she was able to talk about her real feelings instead of having to cover them up. She gave me the best “Thanks, Mom” right then. And that’s when she asked me to do a feelings chart with her every afternoon, just like they do at morning meeting. Pinterest had wonderful things waiting for us. 😊

    On a related note, one day a week or two back, Ruby was having a rough morning at home. Before getting on the bus, she told me she was going to just put her magnet on the happy face, even though she was feeling blue, just because she didn’t want any questions about why her magnet was on the sad face. I encouraged her to always be honest about her feelings at morning meeting, and off she went. I sent Mrs. U a quick heads-up and she thanked me and said she would avoid putting Ruby on the spot. Which was great, but only yesterday did Ruby tell me how things played out that day. Ruby did put her magnet on the sad face, though she was super nervous to do it. The teacher asked if “anyone” wanted to share, and Ruby was so relieved that the question wasn’t “number 22 is on sad, does 22 want to share?” Later on, Mrs. U asked Ruby privately how she was feeling. Ruby was glad she got that check-in, pressure-free. She felt truly cared-for. Thank you Mrs. U!

    These aren’t dramatic stories, but they are a big deal to me. Thank you to everyone in the District who brought this idea into our schools and to everyone who is now putting their efforts into this program.

    Jen

     

    The teacher thanked me for sharing these stories, and the counselor just gushed!

    Wow, I can not thank you enough for this email!!! It is SO amazing to hear this type of feedback!! I am so happy to hear that Ruby is benefiting so much from morning meeting and the feelings chart. Also that her classmates are being impacted by this in a positive way as well. This definitely makes all of the time and hard work totally worth it!! It is not often that parents reach out to share the good stories like this, so I honestly can not express how much this has meant to me.

    Would you mind if I share your email with some of my co-workers and administrators who have worked with me on creating these programs for SEL? I think they would love to read it as much as I have. Also, I can change Ruby’s name in the email if you would like me to keep that confidential.. please just let me know what you think!

    Thank you again so much for your kind words and support, and also for being an amazing Mother to your children!!

    I got Ruby’s permission to share it. And we’ve done the feelings chart at home a couple of times – the kids use it as a tool to tell me about their day. Our chart has 30 or so facial expressions on it. They pick out a face and tell me what happened today to make them feel like that. And then they do it again with another face, because we all feel several different feelings throughout the day. We’re not rigid about doing it every day but that doesn’t matter as much as the fact that we’re doing it, and it’s helping.

    #6212
    Karen Lock KolpKaren Lock Kolp
    Keymaster

    Wow, Jen, thank you so much for sharing! There are so many wins here. (I feel like I am saying that a lot these days : ) I love that Ruby is getting so much out of this, and that you have found something that works for your family, taken from what she’s doing in school. I especially love that she asked for this!

    I would love to feature social emotional learning  in an upcoming parent news segment, may I share your letter? Keeping Ruby‘s name out of it, of course, I just think this would be really helpful for people to know about.

    Congratulations! 💕

    Host of the We Turned Out Okay podcast
    Author of Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics: Key Tools to Handle Every Temper Tantrum, Keep Your Cool, and Enjoy Life With Your Young Child
    Head Honcho of the Ninja Parenting Community

    #6213
    Avatarjen
    Participant

    Yes, do share!

    As wonderful as the results have been, I also learned a lot from the counselor’s heartfelt reply. How precious it is to get the positive feedback. I get unsolicited feedback like that occasionally, when strangers support me or praise my parenting. And doesn’t it feel wonderful when that happens? How much more wonderful if I can give my child’s school with a piece of feedback that equips them to protect a program I care about: “we can’t cut that, the feedback has been so positive!” What a travesty if they were to cut the program because some parents complained (and some always do) while the supporters among us were “too busy” to tell them about the good they’re doing.

    #6214
    Karen Lock KolpKaren Lock Kolp
    Keymaster

    It’s so true, how much more often people will complain about a program they don’t like rather than praise a program they do like. Good for you!

    I’m so proud of you, you are doing such a great job both with raising your girls, and with meta level thinking that you work really hard to keep positive.

    You are great at following through with your good intentions. You don’t let yourself get talked out of for example writing to the school.

    That is SO important, for ourselves, our families, and (I believe) the world in general. You deliberately put cool positive stuff into the world, and it’s helping. Thank you 💕

    Host of the We Turned Out Okay podcast
    Author of Positive Discipline Ninja Tactics: Key Tools to Handle Every Temper Tantrum, Keep Your Cool, and Enjoy Life With Your Young Child
    Head Honcho of the Ninja Parenting Community

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