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5 SEL Competencies to Focus on this Valentine’s Day!

Updated: Feb 16

When you think about Valentine’s Day, what comes to mind for you? You may be imagining chocolates and roses, but there’s more to this holiday than just romance. At its core, Valentine’s Day is about love, including things like trust and support that students experience everyday.

This got us thinking: what if schools celebrated Valentine’s Day by helping students the personal and interpersonal skills to be more loving towards their friends and peers? In that spirit, we are discussing five social-emotional learning competencies that support compassionate community building in the classroom.

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is a big part of what we do at Kikori. The curriculum is focused on providing students with the thoughtfulness and empathy needed to regulate their emotions and interact with others meaningfully, both of which we believe are crucial components of education. Furthermore, the Kikori app makes it easy to make SEL a part of your classroom by providing teachers with experiential activities specifically designed with these goals in mind. Download it today!

# 1: Identifying Emotions

“Identifying Emotions” is a personal SEL competency but one that is very important for the development of relationships. Taking the time to help students recognize and express their feelings can lead to a deeper understanding of themselves and better recognition of the emotions of others.

The easiest way to practice this competency in the classroom is to ask students to reflect on their current emotions. This can be in the form of a check-in at the beginning or end of the day or a prompt given at the end of an experience such as reading a story or participating in a relaxation exercise.

# 2: Empathy

Of all the competencies being discussed today, “Empathy” is perhaps the most important. Being able to connect with others on an emotional level is crucial to student well being and cooperation on so many levels, and many students nowadays struggle to do so. Furthermore, investing in student’s empathy can make the development of other traits like compassion and respect easier down the line.

Empathy can be complicated to build, but an easy place to start is with activities that have students intently listen to one another, such as pair shares.

# 3: Respect for Others

Respect is an aspect of Valentine’s Day that is as important for platonic relationships as it is for romantic ones. Teaching youth to treat one another the way they want to be treated can lead to positive feelings for all!

“Respect for Others” stems from students understanding how their words and actions affect others, so begin to teach this competency there. It can be helpful to incorporate this lesson into both situations where respect has been violated (ex. Insults, shoving) and also ones where it is maintained (ex. sharing) to demonstrate both successes and shortcomings.