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Demo social-emotional learning for middle childhood

The next videos show ways to support social and emotional development and well-being during middle childhood.

There are many ways to support social and emotional development and well-being during middle childhood. Below are activities that are important for children and youth of all ages:

  1. Listening to children, and providing opportunities to talk about experiences and feelings in a safe and non-judgemental setting. Talking about feelings is a way to build self-awareness and language skills and helps children learn how to communicate their needs. This is important all the time, and especially in times of crisis or transition. Here are tips and prompts for facilitating a Feelings Circle in your classroom or via remote learning:

  2. Creating routines, and providing a sense of predictability and safety. Familiar daily or weekly routines provide trust and security and give children confidence to explore the world. Routines and predictability can help children feel safe, especially in times of crisis or transition. Here are examples of two daily routines:

SEL Games

Games are a great way to build social and emotional skills in middle childhood. A set of easy-to-use, evidence-based SEL games and activities can be found here. Below are some of our favorite games for children 4-9 years old:

What is Missing? This game builds “remember power,” also known as working memory or executive function. There are a million different ways to play:

  • you can use anything in your home or classroom
  • you can vary the difficulty level by adding more or fewer objects
  • you can reinforce academic learning by using new words/concepts as objects
  • you can play in large or small groups or in pairs
  • you can play in person or remote

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

My Table Has 4 Corners This game builds “focus power,” also known as attention or executive function. We might make a lot of mistakes when we play this game, and that’s OK! We laugh and keep going. The brain gets stronger every time we play, and what matters is that we try our best. After you play you can ask children: What is challenging about this game? What are you doing or thinking in your mind while you’re playing?

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Freeze Feelings The traditional version of the Freeze game builds “stop and think power,” also known as self-control or executive function. This game also encourages children to think and talk about different feelings – what they look like, sounds like, feel like. To make it more exciting, you can choose songs that children love or have recently learned steps to. After you play you can ask children: What did you notice about the different feelings? Did we all make the same face or did we have different ways of showing our feelings? How can you tell what another person is feeling?

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Name Game This game builds “remember power” and “people power” – it helps us practice working memory as well as social skills such as listening to others, taking turns, and learning about what other people like to do. It’s a great way to get to know a new group of peers in a classroom or remote learning situation. It’s OK if you make a mistake. If you forget someone’s name or action, just look and listen to the people around you – someone will remember and you can help each other!

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Coping with Changes: Social-Emotional Learning Through Play

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