3 steps to choosing Social and Emotional Learning programs
Before engaging in any SEL program, early childhood educators should not only consider the outcomes of the program, but just as importantly, consider the foundations of the program.
If the outcome is to build resilience and wellbeing in children, you should check to see if the foundations include these 3 steps:
Does the SEL program establish as sense of identity for the children?
Will the SEL program teach; I have strengths; I am safe and secure; I am valued
Will it teach that we all have similarities and differences and will it provide a sense of agency about children’s ability to contribute?
The foundations for any SEL program should encourage children to share information about themselves, it should encourage children to develop a growing awareness of how they are the same and how they are different from other children and should develop a further understanding of their own strengths by exploring their interests and contributing toward making decisions about their play.
- Does the SEL program promote connectedness and belonging for both the children and the educators?
Meaningful SEL programs based on research should address concepts including; My family and I belong here; I am unconditionally accepted and connected to these people; and they should build upon forming strong relationships with children in care. The objectives might include: To develop a sense of agency through contributing to decision making and making choices in play; To develop a sense of security in the relationship with primary caregivers at the Centre.
- Does the SEL program teach children (and educators) breathing and relaxation exercises to feel calm and pay attention to what is happening in their body? Will it teach mindfulness and sensory awareness?
Concepts and objectives in research-based SEL programs should include; how to demonstrate an ability to focus on their breathing; recognise when their body is telling them they need to stop and calm down; demonstrate strategies to calm down when feeling upset or worried; explore the senses through concrete experiences; and to identify physical signs of common emotions.
Pathways to Resilience have developed evidenced-based resilience and wellbeing programs for all ages including their flagship program Wing to Fly.
Wings to Fly is an essential professional development program for all early years educators (0 to 5 years). Its up-to-date research and unique delivery have proven positive effects for both the educator and the children in their care.
The program builds upon educator’s capacity and strategies by developing a greater understanding of ways to build relationships that support children's resilience and wellbeing.
Pathways to Resilience is endorsed to provide NESA Registered Professional Development for teachers accredited at the Proficient Teacher Level. Completing Wings to Fly will contribute 12 hours of NESA Registered PD addressing the standard 4.1.2 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW, Queensland and Victoria.