Recently, I shared the below info-graphic with our wonderful teacher assistants at my school. As you can see, it really does cover every skill that children need to be able to feel confident, have a sense of belonging at school and be able to learn to the best of their ability. Social-emotional skills are fundamental to the development of good mental health.
For the most part these skills have to be ‘taught’ to children by adults. They are not ‘caught’.
Some children do seem to have a more natural proclivity to developing emotional intelligence (social emotional skills) than others. However, parents and teachers have a critical role to play in ensuring all our kids have the opportunities to develop the skills they need to be able to relate well to others, manage their feelings and behaviours, make wise decisions and solve problems. These skills are so important that many notable people across a diverse range of fields are now identifying emotional intelligence or social-emotional skills as more important than cognitive intelligence for an individual’s success throughout life. So critical are they that employers, educators and researchers are labelling them 21st Century skills – the important skills people will need to deal effectively with the changes that will occur throughout this century in all facets of human life.
This year, the Second Step program is being implemented in every classroom across our school. It is a comprehensive program through which every classroom teacher is explicitly teaching social emotional skills. We are giving time and effort to this because we believe what the research is telling us - that children need to develop these competencies starting from a young age and continuing for the duration of their lives.
There is also a home login for parents and caregivers included in every Second Step Kit. This is an important part of the success of the program – the opportunity for parents and teachers to work together in supporting our children’s development of their emotional intelligence.
Positive Pieces Education are the Australian and New Zealand publishers of Second Step.