LittleVoices

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For Schools

Benefits of Social and Emotional Learning

It is clear that understanding and managing one’s social and emotional situations well impacts learning outcomes. Academic and social issues are by no means mutually exclusive. There are five key social and emotional skills that children (and adults) can pick up – self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, responsible decision-making and relationship building. 

So, while social and emotional learning (SEL) is not a singular subject that is taught four or five times a week, it should actually be woven into most, or every aspect of the school curriculum. And let us share why SEL is so important to children and adults. 

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Social and Emotional Learning 101 for Parents (and Teachers!)

Parents, we feel you. It’s not easy to constantly worry about whether our children will grow up strong, healthy and to be a good person. Survival in this world is not enough – we need them to thrive. Unfortunately there is no winning formula to guarantee this. However, one of the tools we can equip our children with is social and emotional learning, to develop skills like empathy, communication and self-management. Such are the soft skills that will tide them through their daily lives and foster meaningful relationships. 

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The importance of tracking school attendance and its impact on student safety

Why do schools focus so much on student attendance and implement punitive measures when students chronically do not show up? 

There are a few reasons beyond the simple one of attendance being the “rule”. Chronic absenteeism begins in the early ages. In fact, more than 10 per cent of kindergarten students and first graders are chronically absent (missing 10 per cent or more of school days). Students with high absenteeism rates are more likely to fall behind in math and reading, and dropping out of school later on. 

High rates of chronic absenteeism are reflective of a school’s culture. When attendance is de-prioritized, students’ morales may be diminished, affecting their affinity to school, a trait necessary for safe schools. Incorporating smart school management technology into school safety measures may therefore be a part of the solution in aiding the tracking of student attendance. 

When students' safety needs are met, the learning environment becomes comfortable and conducive. Schools are responsible for ensuring they are safe and accounted for during the day. 

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The Importance of Communication in Times like These

In current society, “times like these” would refer to the ongoing pandemic and any ongoing situation that has potential to disrupt children’s school and family lives. 

Strengthened communication, transparency and trust are key in not only keeping up with children’s school lives, but also any new infection control measures. It may be hard to keep up with their lives especially if they do not openly share how their days have gone. An open, two-way communication between parents and teachers will ensure that any feedback and concerns are addressed. 

Parents who have a good relationship with their children’s school have children that demonstrate the following behavior:

  • Greater class participation
  • Positive feelings towards school
  • Better grasp of learning material and improved academic performance
  • Reduced school-related stress

Some ways to strengthen communication between schools and parents include the following: 

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How Normal Is Normal?

To have a ‘normal’ child who understands what you say, laugh when you play with them, look at you when you call out their name, talk at the age that he or she is supposed to, is a dream of every parent. No parents can imagine their life with a child that is born special and needs extra assistance. All they did is to cherish, support and protect their child. 

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How to get children to care more for the environment

Amidst the current buzzwords of “environment”, “sustainability” and the latest, “carbon-neutral”, how well do children understand the urgency in caring for the earth?

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It is promising that preschools are exposing students to environmental topics such as land pollution and reducing waste. Such mindsets towards the environment need to be ingrained from young. While there are a multitude of days dedicated to caring for the environment, such as World Water Day (22 March) and World Environment Day (5 June), it should take us more than just singular days in a year to shine a light on pressing environmental issues. 

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Helping children manage their emotions

Like adults, children navigate social situations on a daily basis and need to learn to manage their emotions. It is important to start building emotional awareness and control early on, to help them better handle relationships and problem solve. 

It is hard enough for adults to recognise and understand emotions in themselves, let alone for children. Calming down when upset and describing one’s feelings requires much patience. This is where parents and teachers can come in to support them. With an adult’s guidance, children will progressively learn how to manage their feelings. 

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Teaching Children about Gender Equality

“Boys like blue and darker colors, and girls like pink”

“Girls are more vain than boys”

If you were to ask your children how boys and girls are different, what type of answers would you receive? These responses stem from them internalizing what they see and hear from parents, teachers and their environment. From engaging with their surroundings, children will mold their idea of gender roles and shape perceptions of what is “acceptable”. 

As adults near and dear to them, we are responsible for doing our best to provide them with a nurturing, empowering childhood. Don’t shy away from tough conversations. Instead, question things and push your children to understand why archaic gender norms should be shunned. 

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Keeping Schools Going During a Pandemic

It is no secret that schools are critical in children’s lives – academic, social and emotional. With the pandemic disrupting lessons and causing abrupt closures, we have to find a way to better live with COVID-19.

Here are some ways we can go about doing this.

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