Social and emotional learning (SEL) is an integral part of education and human development. SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.
SEL advances educational equity and excellence through authentic school-family-community partnerships to establish learning environments and experiences that feature trusting and collaborative relationships, rigorous and meaningful curriculum and instruction, and ongoing evaluation. SEL can help address various forms of inequity and empower young people and adults to co-create thriving schools and contribute to safe, healthy, and just communities (casel.org).
Jones, Greenberg and Crowley (2015) explored the long-term benefits for individuals who demonstrate high social and emotional skills in early life. The longitudinal study investigated the positive link between social competence during the early developmental period and key young adult outcomes. The authors highlight the need for further effort targeting early intervention in social and emotional development to improve outcomes for tomorrow’s adults.
Now more than ever our children need support and guidance in the area of SEL. The impact that COVID-19 has had on our children over the last two years especially has put many children in a position where they are experiencing emotions they have never felt before. Additionally, they are witnessing their family and friends go through a range emotions too. In order to empower our children to understand, make sense of, communicate and regulate their emotions, they need education and guidance around what these emotions are. We want children to understand that going through these big emotions is OK, and it is normal, but more than that, we want them to be equipped with the necessary skills that will them to be thriving in the areas of their emotional and mental health.
One of the unique qualities of the WorryWoos program are the seven WorryWoo characters that have been created to become loved members of the learning environment. The characters aren’t just names or images they are physical objects children can use for comfort, support, and companionship. In short, children are given the opportunity to have a friendship that meets them where they’re at. The nature of the WorryWoos program allows it to beautifully compliment existing programs, as the direct and intentional emotional teaching and guidance better positions them to receive the values and ethics being taught through other programs.