Children are not always naturally kind. They need to be taught lots of different ways to show kindness as well as the importance of showing kindness. Children also need lots and lots of modeling of kindness from the adults in their lives.
ONE: Challenge yourself and your colleagues to show 20 acts of kindness throughout the month and share those with the students.
TWO: Challenge the students to find five things you do each day that show kindness. They need to tell what you did AND HOW it showed kindness.
THREE:Challenge for the students to think of the different ways to show and think about kindness- kindness to others, to our environment and to themselves!
Here is a free download of a FIVE DAY KINDNESS CHALLENGE- appropriate for grades K-3rd
Aristotle once stated, “who would choose to live, even if possessed with all other things, without friends.”
Many of our students struggle with the basic components of building friendships such as asking to join in play, suggesting play “Let’s…”, sharing, taking turns, changing perspectives, cooperating, and using respectful language.
We, therefore, must directly teach friendship skills through intentional, deliberate discussions and opportunities throughout the day. These opportunities can be embedded into the activities and work that is already occurring in the classroom setting.
We all need to take the time to give ourselves permission to stop and breath. Breath mindfully with Mr. Snowman while tracing his circles. As you breath in, visualize positive images and as you breath out, visualize all negative energy, stress and confusion leaving your body.
One of the best ways to help children prepare their minds and bodies to be ready to learn is through deep breathing.
Deep breathing is a quick and efficient strategy for lowering stress in the body. When we breathe deeply, a message is sent to your brain to calm down and relax.
Have fun practicing deep breathing to calm the brain and the body to be ready to learn. We still have two to three days (depending on the school district) for some purposeful, target-driven learning to occur. Use this turkey deep breathing to add in some holiday fun while preparing the mind so that the learning will stick!
In the blog post, Social Emotional Learning Remote Style, posted on September 10, I added the SEL definition from CASEL. As a district SEL team, we did a deeper dive into the defintion by pulling out the verbs, nouns and adjectives. It helps to provide a perspective of the key words and the focus, especially when you group together all of the words in one part of speech and ponder each set separately and then together.
We are all in this together for distance learning. Therefore, I am sharing as a FREE DOWNLOAD the second week of social emotional activities for home.
The Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines SEL as “…the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”
CASEL also reminds us that social emotional learning starts at home. Families play a crucial role in the child’s development of self-regulation, emotion management, problem-solving skills as well as the building of a healthy positive self-esteem.
Social emotional learning is more critical than ever right now but the challenge for teachers is how to help students engage in SEL activities through remote or distance learning. I developed a week of activities for families to complete together. Keep checking back to journeyintoearly childhood.com for further weeks of activities or just sign up to receive the blog directly to your email on the home page. https://journeyintoearlychildhood.com/
Please feel free to use any part of this slide deck that will benefit your students. If sharing with other staff members, please refer them to this website page.
I posted this back on November 20, 2019. Our work toward building a culture of equity for all continues as we all strive for awareness, understanding and continue to support each other and build each other up.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children have developed a new position statement which helps to support our work toward equity with both our students and within our field of early learning.
NAEYC Statement on Equitable Education:
All children have the right to equitable learning opportunities that enable them to achieve their full potential as engaged learners and valued members of society.
Each child will…
demonstrate self-awareness, confidence, family pride, and positive social identities;
express comfort and joy with human diversity, use accurate language for human differences, and form deep, caring human connections across diverse backgrounds;
increasingly recognize and have language to describe unfairness (injustice) and understand that unfairness hurts;
have the will and the skills to act, with others or alone, against prejudice and/or discriminatory actions.
Reflective Questions: 1. Read the recommendations, what are the areas in which your teaching and/or program are strong? 2. Read the recommendations, what are the areas in which your teachers and/or program need some tweaking? 3. Make a plan for this school year- what is one change that you and your team can implement? 4. Make a long term (1-3 year plan) for you and your team- how can you tweak your program to become more equitable and meet the recommendations as set forth by NAEYC.
More reflective topics on racial equity to explore during PLCs or team meetings:
Now more than ever, we need to use positive, precise language to help support the development and practice of positive social and emotional skills.
Remember- the child is still learning. We need to always be modeling, guiding and practicing the skills we want our children to display.
We can reframe the way we view behavior to look through a lens that all behavior is a form of communication or a need for skill fluency practice (need for the behavior to be explicitly taught with precise language and practiced multiple times in multiple situations).
We also reframe our requests to our children to specifically teach what we DO want students to be doing. We are teaching the correct behavior instead of giving attention to the incorrect behavior. This is challenging when we are upset. We cannot regulate our children if we are not regulated ourselves.
Walk away, take three deep breaths, and then reframe your request using direct language of specifically what you want your child to do.
REFRAME to the POSITIVE and/or to the PRECISE
Use walking feet to stay safe.
Use a quiet voice to be ready.
Don’t hit your brother.
Keep your hands to yourself.
Stop throwing your food.
Food stays on the plate or in your mouth.
Don’t look away and listen to me
Eyes are looking at me and ears are open for listening.
Be nice. (Too vague and abstract for young children. They need concrete rules.)
Say “thank you.”
Be kind. (Too vague and abstract for young children. They need concrete rules.)
You take a turn first and then your sister takes a turn.
Don’t grab it from your sister.
Choose a different toy. Your sister is playing with that. Ask your sister if you can play with it after her.
Teaching Your Child When to Take a Deep Breath (noticing signs in their bodies)
and How to Take Deep Breaths
We, most likely, all need some deep breaths right now.
Sit with your spine in a line, feet flat on the floor, inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth.
Repeat 3 times.
Why- there is scientific evidence that taking deep breaths truly slows down our stress response- it is like slowing but firmly stepping on the gas pedal. It also produces a feeling of calm, it is relaxing, we don’t need any equipment, it provides more oxygen to the brain which improves our thinking and we can take deep breaths anywhere!
Children need to be taught when they need to take deep breaths and how to take deep breaths. If a child is already escalated and upset, this is NOT the time to start teaching how to take deep breaths. It would be like someone telling us to slow down, stay calm and take deep breaths when we are out camping and running from a bear that just spotted us! If your child is upset, let them see you taking deep breaths- gift them your calm BEFORE you tell them to take deep breaths. After they see and respond to your calm, then you can gently encourage them to breathe like a bunny or smell the flower and blow out the candle.
Remember to gift your calm – when you exhibit calm behavior and slow, even, deep breathing, the child will start to mimic. An escalated adult cannot deescaluate a frustrated child.
Teach different ways to take deep breaths when the child is calm. Have fun! Make it into a game.
Choose one metaphor or way of taking deep breaths that your child can relate to, when your child is calm and in a good mood.
Show a visual of the method and hang it on the refrigerator, in the play area or in the child’s sleeping area.
Practice, Practice, Practice at all times of the day. Students need lots and lots of practice so that the techniques can be used automatically in times of stress. It takes LOTS of practice to become an expert.
Teach your child to recognize signs of stress, frustration, and anger such as face getting hot, clenched fists, heavy breathing, crying, sweating, scrunched eyebrows, pounding heart.
Teach your child the difference between short, quick, shallow breaths and long, deep, calming breaths. We want students to be using deep breathing since short breaths can actually make anxious feelings increase.
Model and role-play different situations practicing self-talk such as “I am upset that he took my toy. I can breathe like a bear 7 times.” “I am nervous about your mom working at the hospital today. I can take 7 bunny breaths.” “I’m frustrated that I don’t know what to make for dinner but I can take 7 deep breaths and that will help me think better.”
I have opened my packet of 11 different ways to teach deep breathing as a FREE DOWNLOAD. I hope the visuals and ideas for different methods of teaching deep breathing are helpful for both you and your child.