Designing Healthy Communities

An Educator's View: Social Emotional Learning

By: Jack Peterson, Social Emotional Learning Coordinator, St. Cloud Area Schools

With talk about ACEs and Social Emotional Learning, it's hard to think any of us survived our childhoods. Times have changed, digital media has become the norm and the media influences what we see in the news and in print. When it comes to the job of an educator, we need to take in the whole child. Students show up with a smile on their face even though they are experiencing situations and feelings no child should have to endure. They show up to learn, they show up for a warm meal, they show up for a hug, they show up to feel safe.

The Minnesota Department of Education has rolled out Social Emotional Learning Benchmarks. The areas these benchmarks focus on are Relationship Skills, Self-Awareness, Responsible Decision-Making, Self-Management, and Social Awareness. Schools and districts must now decide how to best fit the benchmarks into the daily learning of students. Ideally making it part of their building curriculum, culture, language, embedding it into the way they function.

Learn more about the goals of Social Emotional Learning from the MN Dept. of Education.