Social/Emotional Learning (SEL)
in a holistic learning environment
A holistic educational approach places equal importance on developing a child's social, emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual skills. It acknowledges that children are unique individuals with feelings, needs and aspirations.
At Seeds, social-emotional learning is a primary focus of our program. We believe that emotional intelligence is the foundation of lifelong learning and the emotional wellbeing of our students.
Each day, emotions are discussed through an emotions check-in board, during circle time and through emotional moments that children experience throughout the day. Children are given the opportunity to express their feelings, practice identifying emotions and develop empathy for others.
Our teachers use various techniques, such as storytelling, art and role playing to help children understand and express their feelings. Mindfulness through yoga, singing mantras, gong bath relaxation and breathing techniques are all a part of the daily routine.
The Relaxation Corner
The Relaxation Corner is a designated space where children can relax in a non-judgemental and supportive atmosphere, especially when they are feeling overwhelmed. Children are encouraged to speak openly about their emotions and learn appropriate tools to unwind. Once children are calm, they can identify their emotions using visuals with the support of a teacher. They have the option to choose a technique to help them feel better, such as deep breathing, sensory toys or reading a story. Our goal is to provide a well-rounded education that supports the whole child and their individual needs.
The Key Components of Social-Emotional Holistic Learning in our Classroom
Emotional Intelligence: Our teachers use various techniques to assist children understand their emotions. This includes reading age appropriate books to identify and name emotions, teaching the five love languages, emotion words and asking them how they feel in different situations and using facial expressions through role-playing to model appropriate emotional responses.
Social Skills: Through constant social interactions that take place in a classroom, children learn to take turns, communicate and resolve conflicts with others. Our teachers use group play, games and activities that require teamwork, like building with blocks or playing with puzzles. These interactions lay the groundwork for building healthy relationships in the future and learning how to set and respect boundaries.
Self-Awareness: Children are encouraged to explore and understand themselves better to promote inner confidence. We help them identify their own likes, dislikes and preferences. Self expression is encouraged through art, music and creative activities. Their actions and their impact on others is also discussed, helping them understand that their actions have consequences.
Empathy: Through our international environment, children are exposed to diverse perspectives, cultures and backgrounds which fosters a sense of compassion and understanding towards others. We emphasize reading stories that focus on empathy and kindness, use real-life scenarios to discuss how others might feel in different situations and encourage children to talk about their feelings and to also consider how others feel. For example, during circle time children learn to ask a friend “How are you feeling today?”
Mindfulness: Our Seedlings are introduced to simple breathing activities. relaxation techniques, short guided meditations and singing mantras to learn how to be calm in the present moment. These practices help to cope with stress and anxiety, improve concentration and regulate emotions. The relaxation corner is used for a quiet reflection time to promote these mindfulness techniques.
Communication and boundaries: Effective communication and listening is promoted by encouraging children to listen when others speak, modeling using clear and simple language and teaching basic communication skills like taking turns during conversations.
Our students also learn how to set boundaries by saying “no” when they do not like something or by using the ‘stop hand.’ For example, if a child is playing with a toy and another child tries to take it away without asking, the child is encouraged to use the stop hand and say “ I am playing right now, once I am finished you can have a turn.” When children are unable to put in place a boundary or the other child refuses to cooperate, a teacher intervenes to support the situation. Through guidance and repetition, children develop the skills to independently resolve conflicts.