This week, And I Still Fly is focusing on social and emotional learning (SEL) at camp. The objective of our children’s book series, Lulu Noire’s Black Butterfly Tales®, is to promote positive social interaction among children. The current school year is coming to an end and many of you plan to have your kids attend summer camp. While some of you are hardworking, fun-loving camp facilitator’s who want to create a warm, exciting, and inclusive environment during those few weeks. Well, our 5-part interview series with SEL expert, author, and illustrator Jennifer S. Miller shares answers to all of your questions on the subject.
Meet Jennifer S. Miller, a social and emotional learning (SEL) expert.
LN: In your words, what is SEL?
JSM: Social and emotional learning (SEL) is how we come to more deeply understand who we are and how we can relate to and understand others, including those we view as different from us in ways that strengthen relationships and do not harm. These skills — including self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making — allow us to set and advance toward our own goals and authentically collaborate with others. We never stop engaging in our social and emotional learning from childhood through our adult lives.
LN: List some benefits of SEL.
JSM: Social and emotional skills serve as the foundation for all of our relationships, including the one we have with ourselves. We require these skills in order to accomplish positive, healthy goals we set and to grow and sustain our most important relationships with our family, friends, work colleagues, and more.
LN: How long has this form of learning been around and when did it start becoming popular? Is it popular?
JSM: Social and emotional learning has always existed. Every time a parent chooses a reaction in response to a feeling, they are teaching their child about their values. Every time a teacher reacts to a child’s big feelings in the classroom, they are teaching that child about appropriate reactions to that moment. The field of research and specific term “social and emotional learning” was coined in 1994 when national thought leaders came together to form CASEL – the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning with the charge of defining what SEL is and looks like. Since that time, there has been a robust research and practice knowledge base that has been established and shared by multiple organizations and stakeholders to show how SEL has a direct impact on academic achievement, on child well-being factors, and on children’s future success in higher education, career achievements, and sustained, healthy family and community relationships.
TO BE CONTINUED…