How do you keep students engaged in the classroom when everything about their world is consistently changing? We have emerged to living in a post pandemic world and its impact does not go unnoticed on our students. Many of our students find it hard to stay focused in school while also trying to understand and process their own emotions. At Keys 4 Success we see the importance of using music, movement, literacy and language as key components to further Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and help students living in this post pandemic world understand and express those emotions. SEL is the process of developing the abilities to identify, manage and understand the emotions of oneself and others. The objective of SEL is for children to be effective and confident communicators. The hope is that once students have the skills to describe their emotions clearly it will be easier for academic learning to occur in the classroom and for them to work cooperatively with others. Instead of teaching students reactive behavior, it’s more productive for young children to be able to recognize their own emotions and learn to effectively communicate and work through their emotions. Music Music serves as a creative outlet. When students learn about music they essentially begin to understand and experience how sounds can evoke different emotions in themselves and others. Musical components within the Keys 4 Success curriculum also allow students to create their own instruments and make their own music thus continuing to foster creativity and curiosity. Movement Like music, movement can also help us connect with our emotions. Feelings of joy, anger, excitement, frustration can be expressed on a healthy level through movement education. At Keys 4 Success it’s important to continue to provide comprehensive movement education as well as techniques that encourage healthy social emotional development. Language Teaching children how to associate words with their emotions is laying the groundwork for effective communication. Effective communication gives students the confidence they need to be resilient and work cooperatively with their peers. The Keys 4 Success program incorporates daily affirmations, expressions of gratitude as well as tools that help our students work through the different challenges they might face throughout the day. Literature The beautiful thing about literature is that it gives students an opportunity to learn about the world through different lenses. Books that are part of the Keys 4 Success curriculum as well as those we add to the classroom libraries help our students learn about culture, community and social skills. Technology Technology is now more accessible than ever. Teaching students how to responsibly interact with tech keeps them safe by promoting healthy engagement and helps expand their use of various tools that can impact their lives. SEL is extremely vital for every student. We not only care about what students are learning we care about how they feel while learning. In order to be critical thinkers, world changers and problem solvers students need to understand how to navigate and communicate their emotions in a healthy way. There are so many different ways SEL can be incorporated into the classroom curriculum and that is what we continue to encourage. Ways SEL can be Practiced in the Classroom • Set aside five minutes to have students listen to calm music. This task can be specifically useful after students return from recess or as they prepare for dismissal. • A read aloud accommodated by a sound app like Novel Effect is a great way for children to be engaged in storytelling and identify the emotions of main characters. • Having students create characters for musical performances where these characters are singing, dancing or playing instruments encourages students to use music and movement to demonstrate the emotions of their characters to others. The generation(s) before us did not have the access to the emotional support that students have today. It’s essential for children as young as 2 to begin the process of learning how to understand various emotions. The Keys 4 Success program provides those creative outlets for students to understand and channel the energy of different emotions, aiding their development and building their confidence for life.