Last weekend I was in Washington, DC speaking at the National Kids Yoga Conference about the importance of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and how teachers can use meaningful stories in their kids yoga classes to teach emotional skills.
Social Emotional Learning (SEL) has established itself as an important paradigm in all educational fields and I’m happy to report that it is an important part of Young Yoga Masters Kids Yoga Teacher Training.
We integrate the ideas of SEL into all Certificates but it’s a core part of the Chakras for Children module.
What is Social Emotional Learning?
For decades teachers and schools focused on teaching knowledge and information gathering skills. The names of class topics refer to well-known areas of human knowledge: math, science, history, geography and so on. Learning emotional and social skills was always considered a by-product of learning these topics.
By struggling to understand difficult concepts and getting together in groups to do projects students were thought to have learnt emotional and social skills. Social and emotional learning was never considered a topic unto itself.
In recent years a new paradigm of teaching has put emotional and social skills at the forefront of learning instead of leaving it as a by-product of academic skills. This new paradigm is called Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and it has been making headway in school curricula and in scientific research.
Research Reveals Social Emotional Learning Works!
Social Emotional Learning is the process by which children (and adults) acquire the skills to manage emotions, create positive relationships and achieve desirable goals.
A review of 82 school-based, universal social and emotional learning (SEL) programs involving 97,406 kindergarten to high school students found SEL training had long lasting, valuable results:
- Students who were enrolled in school based SEL programs experienced positive benefits for almost 4 years after going through a SEL program
Positive attitudes, prosocial behavior, and academic performance improved
- SEL training protected against the development of subsequent problems (i.e., conduct problems, emotional distress, and drug use)
- Positive effects were found with students from different racial groups, different socioeconomic statuses, and different geographic areas around the world.
- SEL programs improved children’s academic performance and behavior
- One of the foundational elements of social emotional learning is self-awareness.
Using Chakras to Teach Social Emotional Learning
Children see skeletons of the body to learn about their bones. They see the organs in their body and learn about their digestive system. But where is the map for children to learn about their emotions? The study of the Chakras can provide this map.
Teaching the Chakras to children is a fun, playful endeavour to explore colours, feelings, and emotions. Chakras are a way to look at your emotional anatomy. The Chakras are a wonderful way for kids to learn about their emotions in their body and to empower them to self-regulate and cope with stress.
This is why SEL can be enhanced by learning about the Chakras. Chakras emphasize energetic anatomy, beyond parts of the body, towards understanding how we feel and the emotions related to the energetic anatomy of each chakra.
Using the Chakras to examine our social emotional identities yields a deep understanding of the layers of our emotions that co-exist and impact our relationships with ourselves and others.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Social Emotional Learning and also learning lots of great tools, techniques and games for teaching Family Yoga and Kids Yoga classes, consider signing up for the 95 Hour Kids Yoga Teacher Certification. You can find out more here.