Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) for children has been a huge focus in early childhood development over the past 10 years, but what about “Grownup Social-Emotional Growth?” It turns out, it’s just as critical for parents and caregivers to fill this specific brain bucket on a daily basis.
Not to be confused with a fancy face mask or a day at the beach, The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines SEL as “the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”
And while it can be hard to focus with little ones around, it’s important to recognize that parents and caregivers shouldn’t put social-emotional growth on hold for alone time.
“To researchers’ awe, music and movement experiences help children better self-regulate behavior and enjoy a safe, creative outlet for self-expression. Studies point to a specific cluster of social-emotional skills—called self-regulation skills—as particularly important for a variety of school successes.” (Dr. Debby Pool, Vice President at Kindermusik International)
According to a new study from Oregon State University co-authored by child development expert Megan McClelland, children with strong self-regulation skills – skills that “help children pay attention, follow directions, stay on task and persist through difficulty” – transition more successfully into Kindergarten.
At-risk children participated in an intervention program that utilized movement and music-based games to help children develop and learn self-regulation skills. These music games were designed to help children learn to stop, think, and then act, three steps that are part of the self-regulation process.
“Most children do just fine in the transition to kindergarten, but 20 to 25 percent of them experience difficulties – those difficulties have a lot to do with self-regulation,” McClelland said. “Any intervention you can develop to make that transition easier can be beneficial.”
Here’s a music and movement game from Kindermusik@Home that gives kids fun practice with those all-important self-regulation skills:
Watch a classroom of preschoolers writing letters from that day’s preschool lesson plan and you will see children wiggling in their seats, looking longingly over at the art table, poking classmates with fingers, or talking to each other. Preschoolers are still learning how to self-regulate or how to control and direct their own actions, thoughts, and feelings. More and more research shows the importance of teaching self-regulation as part of a preschool or toddler curriculum. Studies indicate that self-regulation may even be a predictor of both early academic success and later adult health and wealth.
Latino English Language Learners and Self-Control
While the body of research on the importance of self-regulation continues to grow, little research exists that targets specific cultural factors that may affect self-control skills in ELL preschoolers. A professor from Loyola University Chicago recently published an article in the Child Development Perspectives journal that took initial steps towards identifying two aspects found specifically in the immigrant Latino culture—familism and acculturation—that may affect the self-regulation of preschooler English Language Learners. Familisim refers to a cultural aspect that puts the needs of the family as a whole above the needs of the individuals in the family. Acculturation is the process of change a person or family encounters when one culture begins to merge with another culture, such as changes in food, clothing, and language. The author stresses the need for additional research that will take into consideration these unique aspects of immigrant Latino English Language Learners.
Preschool curriculum develops self-control using music
Studies show that music can help develop self-control in young children, including English Language Learners. In fact, researchers recommend using music to engage the entire familyin learning, including in cultures that place a high regard on the family.
Based on over 30 years of research detailing the ways music instruction boosts self-regulation, listening, early literacy and language, and more, Kindermusik created ABC Music & Me, a preschool and toddler curriculum. ABC Music & Me uses music to teach early literacy and language development to young children and engage families in their children’s education. The research-based curriculum aligns with state standards, including the Common Core, and can be especially beneficial for English Language Learners.In addition to our “English Language Learners Strategies Guide” that provides unit-by-unit, lesson-by-lesson tips, ABC Music & Me includes materials in English and Spanish to increase parent involvement and support the common language spoken in the home.
For more information about using ABC Music & Me as a preschool or toddler curriculum with English Language Learners, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.