I’m delighted to have spent a lot of time in lockdown researching and developing programmes for all ages around Social Emotional Learning (SEL). SEL is a tool that allows us to take all the benefits of music – and embed them in every class we teach. It’s not an ‘extra’ thing we need to do – it’s something that we learn, research and understand so that it becomes ‘part’ of what we do at every stage. I’d direct you to http://www.artsedsel.org for a really great read on all the benefits, but suffice to say – SEL promotes good interaction, self awareness, acceptance, collaboration, problem solving and a deeper empathy and understanding of those around us. There are clearly laid out pillars that focus on Identity, Belonging and Agency, that create a classroom setting where children are responsible and involved in meaningful ways in what is happening in the room. It’s a way to increase emotional intelligence – understaning our emotions and dealing with them in ways that are appropriate and beneficial.
Particularly as we prepare to exit covid related restrictions, we should appreciate every tool we can access to help our children deal with all the emotions and experiences that living through a pandemic can create – especially so young. SEL helps us understand and accept that we are beings of many emotions, and by embedding SEL into our lessons, we can make our students part of the solution in difficult situations, part of their own recovery and create a better school and home community as we do so.
There are many fantastic rescources around SEL, and I’ve created lots of opportunities to embed those important pillars, standards and skills into our music programmes – starting with our early years children through targeted lessons and a new curriculum based on SEL, right through our older children, teens and adults. Programmes that include music, art, movement, songwritng and reflection. At home, at school in the workplace, we can all benefit from a greater emotional intelligence. It’s fast becoming an essential skill, and one that is both rewarding and beneficial to teachers and parents as well as our students.
Let me know if you have any questions for me – I’d be delighted to chat more!