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Social-emotional learning (SEL) is a hot button item with evidence supporting the need to teach social-emotional learning. CASEN has identified a problem within the current approach to social-emotional learning: Currently providers and stakeholders work in individual silos which allows social-emotional learning gaps to be identified in the child.
CASEN’s unique approach to helping children with social-emotional learning is to use a collaborative approach with a variety of stakeholders involved. The lessons included in the CASEN program were developed by educators and presented to physical, occupational, and speech therapists for consultation to see how to best serve children. This approach provides inter-collaborative educational lesson plans to meet the social-emotional needs of the whole child because we believe every child is more than the sum of their parts.
Our Social Network Wellness Academy teaches social wellness to children developmentally 9-13 years of age in a unique way. Each module takes a specific social media platform and presents the dos and don’ts of that particular platform. There are guided lessons in each module that teaches one of the areas of social wellness. Social wellness provides the child an opportunity to navigate social media in a healthy way.
Through the collaborative approach offered by the Social Network Wellness Academy, stakeholders are able to provide their individual expertise and feedback to the individualized lessons that CASEN provides to further improve the child’s strengths.
Parents have access to their child’s course content and material, as well as their own private parent account.
Healthy personal development through SEL is thought to combat public health problems.
Teachers do not just instruct on the curriculum, they are invested in the student’s wellbeing.
As students interact with peers. social-emotional wellbeing is supported through peer interactions.
• Physical Therapists
• Speech and Language
District-level support of Social- Emotional Learning (SEL) is critical to ensuring meaningful educational experiences for students.
Social Network Wellness Academy Stakeholders
As children move forward with their learning in the Social Network Wellness Academy, it is important that their mental, emotional, social, and physical wellbeing is developed in a safe, caring, supportive, focused environment. Social-emotional wellbeing includes both individual capacities and social competencies.
Children and adolescent’s social-emotional wellbeing is reflected in their behaviors, thoughts, feelings and abilities (Jeba & Premraj, n.d.). Through our Social Network Wellness Academy, children identify with their feelings, learn how to manage their emotions, and use strategies to calm themselves. They also learn about relationships based on mutual respect, their rights and responsibilities online, and how to keep themselves safe physically, emotionally, and intellectually.
As students interact with peers, social-emotional wellbeing is supported through peer interactions and group activities. According to Pepler and Bierman (2018), peer relationships provide a unique context in which children learn a range of important social emotional skills such as empathy, cooperation, and problem-solving strategies. Through group activities, students learn how to resolve conflict with their peers. Peers are able to identify what it means to have meaningful relationships, how to regulate and express emotions to peers and adults, and to explore the environment to learn new skills.
Through CASEN Connect, students are able to learn how to appropriately structure sentences and complete thoughts to adequately send a message on social media. They start out with more structured sentences and progress to writing independent complete thoughts to post on social media. This is done through the monitoring of the teacher, administrator, or course facilitator.
Through CASEN Outreach, students are aware of the dangers of social media and how they can be brought up on charges for breaking the law, even if they think their act was harmless. Students learn how they can become victims of child predators on social media. They are made aware of the different types of bullying and how to report it. Students are also made aware of “sexting” (sending sexually suggested or explicit images, videos, or text through social media, phones, or email) and how they can face federal charges, depending on the state.
Jeba, J., & Premraj, C. (n.d.). Social and emotional well being of adolescents. IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science. e-ISSN: 2279-0837. https://www.iosrjournals.org/iosr-jhss/papers/Conf.17004/Volume-3/10.%2056-59.pdf
Pepler, D., & Bierman, K. (2018). With a little help from my friends- The importance of peer relationships for social-emotional development. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. https://www.rwjf.org/en/library/research/2018/11/with-a-little-help-from-my-friends–the-importance-of-peer-relationships-for-social-emotional-development.html
Through our Social Network Wellness Academy, Parents have access to their child’s course content, material, and information, as well as their own private parent account. Parents gain support and resources to reinforce social wellness at home. Parents also have the opportunity to be a part of the parent support group where they can ask administrators, teachers, and other parents questions, as well as provide answers to questions.
According to Social Development in Children (n.d.), to support social development in children, parents can:
- Talk with your child about social relationships and values by asking them about school and friends every day
- Allow children the opportunity to discuss social conflicts and problem-solve their reactions/actions
- Discuss the subject of bullying and harassment, both in person and on the internet
- Allow older children to work out everyday problems on their own
- Keep the lines of communication open—as a parent, you want to make yourself available to listen and support your child in non-judgmental ways
Social Development in Children. (n.d.). Family Programs Scan of Virginia. https://scanfamilies.org/resource/social-development-in-children/
Navigating and nurturing relationships is a part of the educational experience for both teachers and students. Teachers do not just instruct on the curriculum, they are invested with the students’ lives and wellbeing. Social-emotional learning improves academic achievement, improves attitudes and behaviors with greater motivation to learn, fewer negative behaviors such as decreased aggression & disciplinary referrals, and reduces emotional distress with fewer reports of student depression, anxiety, stress, and social withdrawal (What have we learned, n.d.). Even the most modest investments in social-emotional learning can pay off for individuals, schools, and society.
According to What have we learned (n.d.), effective social-emotional learning approaches often incorporate four elements represented by the acronym SAFE:
- SEQUENCED: Connected and coordinated activities to foster skills development
- ACTIVE: Employing active forms of learning to help students strengthen new skills
- FOCUSED: Dedicated time and attention to developing personal and social skills
- EXPLICIT: Targeting specific social and emotional skills
CASEN promotes SAFE learning through activities that build social wellness. It is an interactive program that is focused on student development of personal and social skills. CASEN also helps students identify with their feelings and emotions.
What Have we Learned. (n.d.a). CASEL. https://casel.org/systemic-implementation/sel-in-the-classroom/
District-level coordination and support of Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) is critical to ensuring meaningful educational experiences for all students. When districts partner with families and communities to develop standards and benchmarks for SEL, they are able to integrate these principles into academics, discipline, and student support. All students can benefit from SEL.
Systemic implementation of SEL in a school district can improve math scores and academic performance of reading, improve behavioral outcomes such as attendance and social-emotional competence, as well as, a decrease in suspensions, and improve school environments, as measured by district surveys (What have we learned, n.d.b).
What Have we Learned. (n.d.b). CASEL.
Occupational Therapists serve an important role in promoting Social-Emotional Learning through targeted levels of intervention. They have specialized knowledge of the interaction of a child’s contextual, psychosocial, and performance factors (The occupational therapy’s role in mental health promotion, prevention, & intervention with children & youth social and emotional learning (SEL), n.d.).
Physical Therapists are movement specialists and they promote Social-Emotional Learning through physical activity and movement. This is done by creating modifications to physical activity to increase participation and access to those various activities. Speech-Language Therapists help manage children with Emotional Behavior Disorders (EBD). Many children often have speech and language disorders that may go untreated and the child with language disorders may exhibit problematic patterns of social behavior, increased risk for substance abuse, and negative encounters with the juvenile justice and prison systems (Armstrong, 2011).
Therapists and counselors promote social-emotional wellness and development for all students. According to the American School Counselor Association (2020) school counselors advocate for the mental health needs of all students by offering instruction that enhances awareness of mental health, addressing academic, career and social-emotional development; short-term counseling interventions; and referrals to community resources for long-term support. Therapists and counselors also work with students on self-awareness, self-management and self-regulation, social awareness, relationship building, and decision making. Through CSEN Social Network Wellness Academy, these concepts are reinforced with students which support the tools that the students are given by these providers.
Armstrong, J. (2011). Serving children with emotional-behavioral language disorders:A collaborative approach. Ashawire.
The occupational therapy’s role in mental health promotion, prevention, & intervention with children & youth social and emotional learning (SEL). (n.d.). The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.
According to Jones, Greenberg, and Crawley (2015), understanding early characteristics can be of great value in helping children develop into healthy adults. Healthy personal development through social-emotional learning is thought to combat public health problems such as substance abuse, obesity, and violence.
Interpersonal skills are important for children to navigate social settings, and positive interactions with adults are essential for success. Jones, Greenberg and Crawley stated that success in school involves both social-emotional and cognitive skills, because social interactions, attention, and self-control affect readiness for learning. They also reported that enhancing the social-behavioral and learning environment of young children fosters positive child development, as well as altering adult health and labor market outcomes.
The community benefits through CASEN’s Social Network Wellness Academy because the students can assimilate into their respective environments with a more holistic approach. Students who learn to communicate clearly, cooperate with others, and constructively learn to negotiate conflict are on their way to a successful future. The ability for students to learn how to communicate, engage productively, and to collaborate with others over time will be a great benefit to the community.
Jones, D. E., Greenberg, M., & Crawley, M. (2015). Early social-emotional functioning and public health: The relationship between kindergarten social competence and future wellness. AJPH. https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/full/10.2105/AJPH.2015.302630