How to Speak to Parents about Social Emotional Learning

What is Social Emotional Learning from the perspective of a parent?

Whether you call it “Life skills” “emotional intelligence” or “Social Emotional Learning” most parents understand the importance these skills play in their child’s physical and mental health. Although parents typically agree with the skills taught in school to promote mental health, physical health, emotional regulation, problem-solving skills, etc.

Parent concerns with SEL:

  1. Parents may feel that the term Social Emotional learning is not well defined. 
  2. They may not understand the standard for social-emotional curriculum 
  3. Some parents may fear physiological profiling. Or tracking their child’s behaviors.

As an educator, it is important to realize that these concerns are valid and that our role is to educate parents and communicate. 

The term Social Emotional Learning is a relatively new term and was started in 1994 by scholars in multiple fields. Scholars specializing in child development, prevention science, and bullying prevention, came together to identify key skills and competencies for students to successfully navigate school and life. 

Here are 4 ways to speak to parents about SEL: 

1. Focus on the skills
Parents and educators may not always agree on things but typically they can agree on what skills need to be learned. When discussing social-emotional learning with parents it is best to focus on the skills being taught and promoted. 

Social Emotional Learning teaches: 

  • Social awareness
  • Responsible decision making
  • Self Management 
  • Self-awareness 
  • Relationship Skill
  • Conflict resolution
  • Life skills
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Goal Setting
  • Behavioral skills
  • Character development and education
  • Growth mindset

2. Find out what they know.
An open line of communication gives you the opportunity to ask questions. Make sure to see what parents and caregivers already know about social-emotional learning. With that information in hand, you will be better equipped to educate parents and keep them informed. You may find that parents have misconceptions of what social-emotional learning really is. Part of keeping parents on board with an SEL curriculum is keeping them in the loop and involved. 

3- Meet them where they are at
You may find that each class, school, and/or school district has a different take on SEL. This is why finding out how your students’ caregivers are feeling about SEL is very important. Then with that, you can meet them where they are at. It is important that as educators you realize what cultural influences drive your families. Make sure to keep an open line of communication where caregivers can reach out to you with any concerns. 

Remember that Social Emotional Learning does not end when your students walk out of your door and that families play a BIG role in SEL.  Our “My Best Me” understands this aspect and provides you the educator with the tools to keep that line of communication open. Through weekly printables that can be printed and set home or emailed directly. 

4. Be ready for difficult conversations
Social Emotional Learning can evoke some difficult conversations with students and with parents alike. If you ever have concerns about a student make sure to communicate those concerns with parents/caregivers. The best way to bring up these concerns is to ground your concerns in data. Extensive research has been done on social-emotional learning and therefore data is available for you as a form of support. Some social-emotional curriculums have a built-in growth tracker. For example, “My Best Me” uses our hope survey to monitor student growth and potential concerns. The information gathered through our hope survey is only given to schools and NEVER to a third party. The hope survey is done at the beginning of the year and then again at the end of the year to monitor growth. 

If you are interested in learning more about “My Best Me” schedule a demo or contact us.