Third, promote social and emotional learning for young people

  • Whenever possible, provide consistency in daily routines to foster a sense of safety and predictability. For parents and caregivers, this may mean maintaining a clear schedule of meal times, learning time, and bedtime. For educators, this may mean beginning online classes, sharing out, and assigning work in a consistent, structured way.
  • Listen to young people. Give children and youth opportunities to share their concerns, and address the difficult questions on their minds in age-appropriate ways.  
  • Support young people in building or maintaining a sense of community and connection.  Relationships are always a priority and a key to engagement and learning, and especially so at a time when young people may be feeling isolated.  Educators can build in time for students to check in with each other, to share an experience, and to have fun during virtual classes as this provides opportunities for social connection and promotes self-awareness, social awareness, and relationship skills.  Parents and caregivers can brainstorm with their children about creative ways to stay connected with peers through technology, exchanging letters or crafts, or collaborating on projects.
  • Incorporate social and emotional skill building into learning.  Educators can use familiar strategies from an SEL program used at the school or CASEL’s SEL 3 Signature Practices to provide opportunities for students to reflect and contribute, pause to process their emotions and thoughts, connect and collaborate with their peers, and promote empathy.  Both educators and families can access free COVID-19 E-Learning resources from the SEL Providers Council.  For assignments and projects, consider encouraging young people to work together through shared documents and apps to strengthen skills in collaboration and relationship-building.  With independent work, include open-ended questions that require young people to reflect on their personal experience and feelings to strengthen self-awareness and communication.