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Criteria for social-emotional learning in middle childhood

Good facilitation is important! In this article you will find few criteria for facilitating SEL activities.

Good facilitation is important for an activity to run smoothly. Parents, educators, and other adults can effectively facilitate SEL activities during middle childhood if we keep a few criteria in mind:

Make the activity playful

Think back to the 5 characteristics of Learning through Play and see if you cover some or all of them through your activity. Ask yourself, “Is this meaningful, joyful, interactive, iterative, and engaging?”

Target relevant skills

Target skills and activities that reflect the interests of the child. For example, if they are currently motivated by peer relationships, a team-building or group problem-solving activity might be more effective than an independent one.

Be explicit

Talk about social emotional skills, such as what it means to share or treat others fairly. Adults can name it, explain it, model it, and provide multiple opportunities to practice. Sometimes we think of social and emotional development as something that “just happens” – but making these skills explicit can help children understand and use them more easily.

Be sensitive to unique needs

All children learn and grow at their own pace. It is important to pay attention to each child’s needs and their readiness for new challenge. Even if an activity is ‘prescribed’ for a certain age-group, it may be too simple or too complex for a particular child.

Link SEL to real-life

Capitalize on every-day moments to teach and expand on concepts and help children solve problems. You can use multiple means of engagement (books, videos, visuals, conversations, games, role play) to reinforce skills. This helps children to remember and practice the skills they learn through specific SEL activities.

Praise the child for doing it well

Encouragement and recognition of effort go a long way in building children’s confidence and motivation to use new skills!

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