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Course review

WOW! We have learned so much and come so far from the beginning. Let's take a trip down memory lane.

WOW!

We have learned so much and come so far from the beginning. You can link back to review in depth.

In week 2, we played and learned about the importance of play in children’s development and learning. We heard about the research showing the impact of play, and how play is essential in building social and emotional skills. We learned about the five characteristics of play (meaningful, joyful, socially interactive, actively engaging, and iterative) that draw on evidence on how children best learn.

In week 3, we learned about Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) and social emotional learning (SEL). Although we now know that adversity can have negative effects, we also learned how the support of the individual’s social network can allow them to demonstrate resilience. We learned and practiced playful promotion and response strategies, including child-friendly mindfulness, social support mapping, and learning about identification of distress and referral to services.

In week 4, we focused in on how change and transitions can affect child development. We created our own “change clouds” to visualize how change manifests for us, and the children in our lives. We heard about how children respond to change. For children going through transitions, it is important that they feel listened to, begin to understand the different perspectives and effects on others, and have predictability and playful routines. You developed your own playful routines for you and the children in your life. Finally, we learned about adults roles in transition and how to support your children with learning through play.

In week 5, we focused on your own individual wellbeing. Evidence shows that your mental health and well-being is vital for you and for children. After reflecting on your own stress and its causes, we practiced a number of different strategies: mindfulness, the stop-think-go method of solving problems. You were then able to put it all together in your own self-care plan.

In week 6, we focused on early childhood development (ECD) – from birth to three years old. We learned how much the brain develops, and how this relates to the key social and emotional areas of development: attachment and relationships, language and communications, expressing and reading emotions, and social and playful interactions. We learned about how stress or change might affect early childhood development, and then how to mitigate those potential effects, including the different adults and their roles. Throughout the week, we played while also learning about the 5 characteristics of Learning through Play, along with examples, and more information on the research and play. We saw a demo of play-based SEL in ECD, learn the core components of SEL in ECD, and then designed our own play-based SEL activities.

We learned about Middle Childhood – ages four through nine – in week 7. There are four big areas of development for this age: language and emotions, concern for others, thinking and understanding, and relationships and play. Crisis can affect middle childhood – including potential disruptions and regressions – but we heard how we as adults can support children in middle childhood to cope with change. Then we probed the roles of adults for this age group. Then, we saw how the 5 characteristics of learning through play manifest in middle childhood and saw them in action through demos of SEL activities. We learned the best practices and criteria for SEL in this age before you designed your own SEL activity.

In week 8, we learned all about typical adolescent development, and the key developmental tasks of adolescence: to stand out, fit in, measure up, and take hold. We learned how adolescents are particularly vulnerable to crisis, yet we can support them with social emotional learning – and values and beliefs are particularly important for this age group. We learned how to strengthen our facilitation muscles and how learning through play differs with adolescents, so we heard guidance on facilitation from an expert adolescent facilitator. We outlined the 5 characteristics of learning through play for adolescence, which can help to build SEL following specific steps, allowing us to build our own playful SEL activities for adolescents to support their resilience and coping with change.

We hope you’ve tried out some of the play-based SEL activities we practiced in this course, and new ones you developed, with the children in your life!

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Coping with Changes: Social-Emotional Learning Through Play

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