Social and emotional skills can be taught to students of all ages. The younger kids are when they start learning how to build these skills, the better. But research shows that working on them during adolescence can also help. The key is to meet students where they are.
Here are examples of how SEL can be woven into traditional lesson plans at different ages:
Preschool: Show students how to work in pairs, like reading a book together. Point out how to center the book between two students and how to take turns flipping the pages. This helps kids learn about sharing and think about the needs of others.
Grade school: Ask students to identify their strengths and weaknesses as part of math instruction. Encourage students to fill in part of a grid or a pie chart to show how strong they feel at a particular skill.
Middle school: Show students how to make the classroom a safe space where everyone can express themselves, like saying whether their weekend was good or bad. For example, the class can agree that there’s no teasing allowed.
High school: Help teens practice taking the perspectives of other people. Have them define and use the word empathy and break into small groups to reflect on how and why someone fought for justice and equality.
Parents and caregivers: Check out
social-emotional learning games
to try with your child.