Preparing children for what’s next requires a broad, balanced education that combines academic rigor with social and emotional growth. The research is clear — children perform better academically when they learn to establish positive relationships, manage their emotions, develop concern for others, make responsible decisions and constructively handle challenging situations.
At Brookwood, we value authentic partnerships. Parents are experts in their kids, and we are experts in education. When our collective expertise is paired, kids thrive. As such, we’ve put together a few tips to help you infuse social and emotional learning at home.
4 Tips for Parents to Promote Social and Emotional Growth
- Model empathy for children. Being understood helps humans let go of troubling emotions. If your child’s emotional response seems out of proportion to the situation, remember that we all store up emotions and then let ourselves experience them once we find a safe haven. Then we’re free to move on. Demonstrating empathy during these interactions provides kids with a model for how they can move through similar scenarios with their friends and peers.
- Encourage emotional literacy. Children deal with many of the same emotions adults do — they get angry, sad, frustrated, nervous, happy or embarrassed, but they often do not have the words to talk about how they are feeling. You can help your children understand and express their emotions by giving the feelings names and then encouraging them to talk about how they are feeling.
- Practice mindful moments. Encourage your children to take a moment to reflect on a situation before reacting to it. By pausing, we provide kids with a process for responding to emotional situations with strategies that align with one’s best-self.
- Reflect and restore after an upset. Give children the space to reflect on an emotional moment and the opportunity to resolve any conflicts that may have arisen. Children develop empathy by considering others’ feelings and working collaboratively to identify healthy solutions to challenges, which helps repair relationships and restores household norms.
The Latest: Social and Emotional Learning at Brookwood
Research shows that kids learn best when they feel recognized and understood. Since our founding, our academic program has been modeled around the research-backed concept that students are able to achieve their best when they are known and loved. Authentic relationships between students and teachers instill confidence, build trust, and propel growth.
Brookwood is engaging in a multi-faceted approach to social and emotional learning in order to best meet the needs of our students. This includes mindfulness, our responsive classroom strategies, and our weekly personal growth and development time for all students as a few examples.
Recently, a delegation of Brookwood faculty and administrators attended the RULER conference out of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. RULER aims to infuse the principles of emotional intelligence into the immune system of each school, informing how leaders lead, teachers teach, students learn, and families support students (see the RULER method below).
Over the course of the next year—and as part of our strategic plan-inspired focus to design dynamic learning experiences that help our students hone their strengths and become their best selves—we are integrating components of the RULER approach in order to promote and strengthen a developmentally-appropriate growth mindset for students in all grade levels. Additionally, we are implementing the use of common language around emotions, skill development in emotional intelligence, and the building and sustaining of positive social and emotional climates where all students and teachers in the school feel empowered to learn, work and achieve.
By starting with the adults in children’s lives, we are creating an environment where children can emulate the positive socio-emotional behavior they witness in their own day-to-day interactions both at school and at home.