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Social Emotional Learning At A Glance

What is SEL? As everyone continues to figure out life post pandemic there is more discussion surrounding social emotional learning for children. The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines SEL as “how children and adults learn to understand and manage emotions, set goals, show empathy for others, establish positive relationships and make responsible decisions.” At Keys 4 Success we understand that SEL can impact students everyday academic experience. Using music as a conduit to teach students life skills, we are promoting healthy social development and emotional intelligence. Why is SEL an important aspect of Keys 4 Success curriculum? The National Education Association suggests that aligning SEL with academic objectives helps children learn how to better manage their emotions. Having SEL in the curriculum gives children the opportunity to be problem solvers because they learn how to express themselves, especially through music. When we realize that music is interwoven throughout our lives and impacts much of our life experiences we can be more conscious of what is seeping into our emotional bodies. As educators, what strategies do you use to implement SEL into your everyday activities with Keys 4 Success? At Keys 4 Success we incorporate SEL into our weekly lesson plans, through our class affirmations, breathing exercises, meditation and of course using the sounds of different rhythms and instruments. We allow our students to express and empower themselves through movement, verbal expressions, and other forms of creative expression. We believe it’s more productive for young children to be proactively taught to able to recognize their own emotions and learn to effectively communicate and work through such emotions. It’s important that our students are able to connect to what they hear and feel and use the tools they are learning to help navigate and manage their own emotions. How does using music as a creative outlet help students address their SEL needs? Music education incorporates so many tools essential to life such as discipline, patience and time management. This is seen through the students as they prepare for recitals and other engagements. We also get to see them blossom as individuals as they demonstrate their resilience beyond the music. Their personal development in the program as problem solvers and critical thinkers puts them on the path to becoming successful adults. What do you believe the long term impact of SEL will have on your students? Emotional Intelligence plays a major factor in the quality of our lives and that is why SEL is extremely vital for every student. The generation(s) before us did not have the access to the emotional support that students have today. It’s essential for us to support our children with the tools necessary for their continued growth and development. The Keys 4 Success program provides that nurturing and creative outlet for children, as young as 2, to better understand and manage their emotions, thus building their confidence and resilience for life. By: Briana Holliday

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