What’s Most Important Upon a Return to School? Social and Emotional Learning

By Adam Parker, School Psychologist

McGraw Hill
Aug 7 · 6 min read
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In the middle of March, 2020 schools across the world closed their doors to stop the spread of Covid-19. What came next was the balancing act of parents having children at home, remote learning, and trying to manage our fears and emotions. Days before state assessment would begin we had to shift our thoughts from state standards to social-emotional wellbeing and that lens needs to be the focus moving forward.

Job loss, fear, illness, closed borders, anxiety, and death are the words that have been surrounding our lives for the last four months, and that affects children just as negatively as it affects adults.

It’s important to understand who can help, how to help, and what can be done at both school and home. Let’s look ahead to the first two weeks of school and beyond.

Who Can Help at School?

What Can It Look Like?

Expressing Your Feelings

Teaching students to use I-messages like “I have been feeling frustrated that I can’t practice soccer with my friends” can lead to a conversation about how to solve that problem.

Here is a link on I-Messages you could share with students:

Asking for Help

Optimism

Thinking about positives that came out of this time off, like practicing a new skill, more time with family, and realizing we don’t need to constantly be GO GO GOING are all important lessons. We have had a gift of time these last few months and we can use what we have learned to be even better moving forward.

Encourage your students to share things they learned during this time. Have a discussion about the new habits they established and express your own optimism for the future.

Here is a link to share with students about optimism.

Resiliency

Doing Kind Things for Others

Here is a link to share with students around compassion and another around empathy.

Home School Psychology — Empathy #Togetherathome

Buddy System

The First 10 Days

We can help ground our students by sharing our experiences and growths, by working with our mental health providers, and by being present for our class every day.

The first days back in the building will make our hearts race and our nerves feel tense, but you can choose to look at that like fear or excitement. Will you be afraid and frozen, or use the adrenalin to promote change and move forward?

As you step back into your schools remember that social-emotional wellbeing should be our biggest focus. It is easier to connect with our peers and classmates if we know that we are in a safe and loving environment. Remember to the world you are teachers but to your students, you are a hero.


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My name is Adam Parker and I am a School Psychologist who has a passion for making learning fun. I’ve used music, sports, and nature to help students feel comfortable to share their feelings. Lately I have been creating daily social-emotional videos and songs for students during these uncertain times. I like to bring fun back to school!


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Follow the conversation #WhyITeach

To be reminded why your work is so very important and for more stories and advice, visit our collection of teacher perspectives at The Art of Teaching.

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Inspired Ideas

Resources, ideas, and stories for PreK-12 educators.

McGraw Hill

Written by

We apply the science of learning to create innovative educational solutions and content to improve outcomes from K-20 and beyond.

Inspired Ideas

Resources, ideas, and stories for PreK-12 educators. We focus on learning science, educational equity, social and emotional learning, and evidence-based teaching strategies. Be sure to check out The Art of Teaching Project, our guest blogging platform for all educators.

McGraw Hill

Written by

We apply the science of learning to create innovative educational solutions and content to improve outcomes from K-20 and beyond.

Inspired Ideas

Resources, ideas, and stories for PreK-12 educators. We focus on learning science, educational equity, social and emotional learning, and evidence-based teaching strategies. Be sure to check out The Art of Teaching Project, our guest blogging platform for all educators.

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