Social and Emotional Learning is a main focus in our Preschool and Kindergarten at EB. During their time in Maternelle, children are learning to identify their own and others’ emotions, as well as to empathize. SEL supports children in learning to express, name, recognize and talk about all the fundamental emotions such as happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and surprise. Those fundamental emotions are hard to read through the facial expressions of others, and may often be mislabeled. For example, tears can easily be read as sadness, even while they express fear or frustration.
Learning Self Regulation
While students learn to identify their emotions, they also learn to regulate them at the right time and for the right reasons. For example, a child who is bored may be acting silly or disruptive. To support self-regulation, our teachers will often ask a child to take one to three deep breaths to calm down when their emotions take over.
Slowly but surely, our students are also learning to inhibit inappropriate behaviors such as learning how to wait patiently for their turn. Additionally, they are learning that different contexts have different behavioral norms, such as needing to be quiet in the library.
With time, children become more socially and emotionally aware. They learn that others feel differently than they do, they begin the process of making appropriate choices in order to develop and maintain a friendship and they participate positively in their classroom communities.
Besides learning those skills on a daily basis with the teachers and the teachers’ assistants, since 2011 we have been implementing a Social Emotional Learning program especially designed for young children, called Vers le Pacifique. This conflict resolution and peer mediation program promotes peaceful behaviors by giving children a common language around conflict resolution. If you are a parent in moyenne section, your child may have mentioned Madame Pacifique, as the teachers have started introducing the method in November.
Experiencing Situations with Madame Pacific
Vers le Pacifique allows the child to be an actor of his environment. Every week, the Dove of Peace, Mrs. Pacific, goes into the MS and K classrooms and engages the children in discussions, role plays, mimes, crafts, riddles and stories to expose them to themes of conflict, feelings, anger, communication, listening, empathy, self-esteem, finding solutions and conflict resolution.
In moyenne section, children are invited to travel for peace. In her school bus, Mrs. Pacific will drive the children through her neighborhood where she will show them different places where they can play harmoniously (the park, the swimming pool, the library, the theater and the zoo). There they will meet other children from Mrs. Lili’s group who engage in different activities in the neighborhood. Indeed, those children experience numerous adventures while they learn how to play together, share, communicate, listen and collaborate. All those skills are essential for the positive social and emotional growth of the children in Preschool.
Peaceful Attitude in Four Steps
In Kindergarten, children are taking flight to learn to resolve conflict peacefully. To do so, they are guided by Mrs. Pacific. During their trip, children have the chance to visit different Islands of Peace where a character welcomes them. The characters are: Miss Proudwings on the Island of Self-Knowledge; Mr. Sensitive on the Islands of Feelings; the Empathetic Detective on the Island of Empathy and Mr. Cool, Miss Magpie, Mr. Allears and Mr. Infinity. Each character teaches children ways to live in harmony with their peers.
This program aims to equip students to better manage their conflicts and to have peaceful attitudes by using the four steps: to calm down, to talk, to search and to find. These steps will be deepened through other themes and over the years.
Learn more about Social and Emotional Learning at EB in this video about how we implement restorative justice across grade levels: