As a parent you already know that academics and extra-curricular activities are necessary for the development of the child. However, in this rush for academic excellence, you often tend to give less importance towards the mental health of your child and that’s where social and emotional learning comes in.
As an entrepreneur with more than two decades of experience and a co-founder of Cosmikids International– A Preschool, Day Care and an After School Activity Centre , I have found two articles highlighting the importance of social and emotional learning for children.
The first is by Julie Scelfo , who in a recent NY Times article titled “Teaching Peace in Elementary School” points out how S.E.L ( Social and Emotional Learning ) is being embraced by elementary teachers , counselors and administrators of many communities. A Framework of SEL established by Yale researches in 1994 called Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) is also discussed.
The article conveys the message that in order to achieve academic intelligence in children it is important for them to be emotionally healthy first.Some worry about using school time to tend to emotions, but the evidence for incorporating Social and Emotional Learning programs in schools seems compelling. http://bit.ly/1jIb9TN
The second article written by Marilyn Price-Mitchell, PH.Dand titled
“Why Character Counts” explains how character increases well being and leads to a life of fulfillment.Dr Price points out that when we consider education in the broad sense, it is important to consider the correlation between how kids develop character during childhood and adolescence, and the kind of adults they become.
Dr. Price also talks about how character strengths are more defined and measurable. She presents the framework by Via institute of character classifying them in 6 categories namely wisdom and knowledge, courage, humanity, justice, temperance and transcendence.
Drawing from these two articles and my experience as an entrepreneur engaged in running a preschool, I have listed 3 actions that you as a parent should take to enable you to develop your child’s character.
- Talk about feelings – It’s a great way to begin to name emotions and let your child learn about them.
- Be a role model – Remember that your child will more likely do what you do, rather than do what you say.
- Use Story time- While reading a story you can stop and point out the feelings or reactions of the characters, as well as probe your child to discuss how they would feel in such a situation.
So starting today you need to incorporate social and emotional learning in your day to day activities with your child to help build his /her character.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
RAKESH KOTWANI received his Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics from the University of Kolhapur in 1989, and then completed a Management Development Programme , “Small and Medium Enterprises” from I.I.M Ahmedabad in 2004.
As an Entrepreneur with 25 years of experience, he is a co-founder of Cosmikids. India. He oversees all aspects of business development and expansion.