Lately we have been engaging in a variety of learning experiences that explore ideas and concepts related to social dynamics and self-understanding. As the girls get older their social worlds are expanding and they are spending more of their time with friends and in groups. So many different issues can emerge and, as parents, we are not always present in the moment to help them navigate their way through.
As a classroom teacher and a parent I have witnessed first hand the enormous benefits that come from the explicit introduction of social and emotional skills to children. When children have the language and skills that are necessary to effectively express themselves and to navigate through a variety of circumstances, they have more energy and time to dedicate to playing, learning and growing.
Families that explore these concepts together develop a shared language and lines of communication that will become ever so important as children become exposed to more complex social dynamics.
Seeds of Potential
Seeds of Potential is a learning experience that helps to explore what makes us all unique as humans, what we all have in common, and how we can support each other along the way.
- Start out by presenting different (the more variety the better) apples to your child. Ask them to describe what they see. It may even be fun to get out a magnifying glass and spend time noticing the small details.
- Once you have had a chance to discuss the differences between the apples, it is helpful to talk about how humans are similar to apples. We all look different and are unique in our own special ways.
- Next, cut open all of the apples so that the seeds are visible. Point out that although on the outside, the apples appear to be very different, on the inside they all have seeds of potential. Each seed within the apple has the potential to grow into an amazing apple tree. Again you can help your child to make the same connection to people. Although we all come in different colors, shapes and sizes, we all have special seeds of potential within us.
- To explore this concept on a deeper level, print out the Seeds of Potential Printable. It is helpful to paste them into a notebook that can be used for ongoing family writing times. Before getting started, read the questions together and make sure to discuss any words or concepts that may be new to your child. Next, take some time to answer all of the questions. It is very powerful for parents to work alongside their children—the more honest you are in your responses, the more meaningful your follow-up discussion will be. If your child does not feel comfortable writing independently, offer to take dictation and write down his ideas for him.
- End by sharing your answers together as a family. Try to relate your answers to specific examples from your lives. It is helpful for children to realize that we all have seeds of potential that we are trying to develop in order to become better people.
- Then to top it off, learn about the language of put-ups and put-downs, so that you can encourage each others’ growth in respectful and empowering ways.
For more inspiration…
- Put-Up + Put-Down eCourse
- 10-Minute Life Lessons for Kids: 52 Fun and Simple Games and Activities to Teach Your Child Honest, Trust, Love, and Other Important Values by Jamie C. Miller
- Benefits of Social Emotional Learning by CASEL
- Lessons from Connected and Respected by ESR
*This article was originally posted at Simple Kids.