Better Education Conference Workshop Led by Tania Wray (AISWA)
Summary by Terrina Zornada
“It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults," Frederick Douglass. Using this quote as an opening statement, the emphasis of this session was to provide an overview of the importance of Social Emotional learning in the Early Years. Tania broke down the discussion by addressing the significance of both domains and outlining the essential areas of focus.
In the domain of Social development, a child is learning how to relate and interact with others; they are observing and experiencing social languages, while practising skills of friendship making, negotiation of needs and effective communication. Emotional development focuses on the expression of feelings and the management of emotions. Children learn how to recognise and interpret how they and others feel, building self-awareness and empathy. For younger children these learning opportunities are enhanced when specific guided teaching is provided.
As teachers, a focus to build and foster healthy social and emotional learning must be foundational, particularly in the early years, so that students are given every opportunity to grow in their own sense of belonging and connectedness to the world around them.
Tania suggested Friendly Schools Plus and the Path program as well researched resources for teachers and suggested www.kidsmatter.edu.au as a helpful website to view when deciding on which programs to implement in your schools.