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As we are approaching fall and children are preparing for school, It is necessary to remind ourselves of the need for fresh focus on social and emotional learning and literacy of children.

While students enter to a competing race to stand out academically and athletically, they face a jam packed schedule very early on. They usually have no time to reflect on how they feel, how their peers are doing emotionally, basically decoding self and others. This particular ability is a foundation for social and emotional literacy. This particular literacy will offer kids an ability to talk about their imaginations, discuss their dreams and reflect on their feelings and thoughts.

This ability needs to be worked on, practiced like any other skill. If it’s done effectively, emotional literacy will reduce violence and bullying at schools, enhances adaptive capacities and provides foundation for healthy development.

They are programs nationwide that has been launched to pursue this special goal at schools.
As school year starts, it would be very essential to arrange a meeting with your child’s school counselor and inquire about these programs as well as this particular goal of emotional literacy.

You can ask school teachers and counselors questions like these:

What are my child’s school goals and resources to improve the social emotional learning of the students?

In what ways are you and your colleagues extending social and emotional learning into classrooms?

How do you promote curiosity in your students about others and themselves?

To what extend do you encourage in your students to “not know”, which is so often a platform for new reflective learning?

A very insightful book to read and use and my source for some of these thoughts is Caring classrooms/Intelligent schools by Jonathan Cohen.


For additional information, contact McLean Counseling Center in McLean, VA.