This information is designed to support preK learners. This age group requires particular consideration when it comes to distance learning because they need more hands on support from parents and caregivers. The activities are intended to provide some guidance for how to integrate SEL learning at home in ways that make sense for your family.
Designed to foster social emotional competence, the activities in this packet are organized around CASEL’s five core SEL standards: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making.
Provide opportunities for students to find ways to share more about themselves.
What Are Emotions? Flashcards
A significant goal of social-emotional learning is helping students identify their own emotions.
- Help kids create their own emotions flashcards by providing index cards (or paper or a cereal box into cards) and drawing tools.
- Ask them to draw a face on each card that shows a specific emotion. Using very concrete emotions is recommended for this age group, such as happy, sad, scared, mad, surprised, angry, excited, calm, sleepy, etc.
- Once the cards are finished, invite your child to show you how they are feeling by holding up the appropriate card.
Who Am I? Portrait
Helping young learners define who they are and what makes them special and unique is an important part of SEL.
- Print a copy of the human outline (click here to download) or draw a simple figure outline for your child to use.
- Have a conversation with your child about things they like about themselves and things they like, such as colors, physical features, games, sports, food, animals, books, friends, places, art activities, and music. Share ideas about yourself, too!
- Then, show your child the drawing sheet. Ask them to draw pictures in and around the person outline to show the things that represent them.
- Kids could also cut and glue images from old magazines or use stickers. Encourage kids to use their favorite colors and have fun!
- Hang the finished portrait on the refrigerator or another visible place everyone passes by frequently.
Provide opportunities for students to reflect on how they manage their behaviors and emotions in challenging situations.
My Daily Goal
Help young learners begin developing skills around goal setting and add a fun focus to the day.
- Each morning at breakfast, ask your preschooler to name one thing they want to accomplish today. This can be as simple as kick a soccer ball, play with LEGO, or draw a picture.
- On a piece of paper or erasable whiteboard, draw a simple sketch of the goal and write a couple of words under it to describe it.
- Place the white board or piece of paper somewhere in your home as a visual reminder.
- At dinner or bedtime, revisit your child’s goal by saying, “This morning you said your goal today was ___. Did you accomplish it?”
- If your child accomplished the goal, invite them to draw a star or heart on the paper or whiteboard to show their achievement.
Support emotional regulation skill building by giving your youngster a place to practice calming and resetting.
- Create a designated space for your child to have alone time to work through emotions.
- With your child, pick a spot and have them help create the space to make it uniquely theirs.
- Print or draw pictures of places your child likes to go and put them up in the space.
- Make the space comfy by having your child select a favorite pillow, blanket, and stuffed animal(s) and placing them in the special place.
- Come up with a fun name, such as “Claire’s Comfy Corner” or “Sam’s Safe Spot,” and make a sign.
- When your child is struggling to manage emotions, remind them to go to their special spot to reset and recharge.
Provide opportunities for students to gain social awareness of others and how they are dealing with the current changes in our lives.
Understanding our social surroundings and considering other people’s perspectives is an essential life skill. Because they don’t have as many life experiences to draw on as older children or adults, this can be difficult for young learners.
- Reading is a wonderful way to help preschool-aged students consider other people’s perspectives.
- As you read with your child, consider asking questions such as:
- How do you think X character was feeling at X part of the story? Why do you think they were feeling that way?
- If you were in the story, how do you think you would feel in that same situation? Why?
- How do you feel about what happened in the story?
- If you do not have access to books at home or time to read with your child, check out the StoryLineOnline website to watch videos of celebrities reading popular children’s literature.
Social norms and expectations are often different at home than at school. Children may have difficulty adjusting to the quickly shifting landscape of a home where people are working, learning, and living simultaneously.
- Help your child make reminder signs to help them navigate expectations during different activities.
- Work together to draw or select and print images that are visual reminders for sharing toys, playing quietly, cleaning up, looking at a book, having a snack, doing a chore (e.g., feeding the dog or watering the plants), being silly, and other activities.
- Leading into transitional times, ask your child to select an appropriate sign to display as a reminder; for example, in advance of a work call, ask your child to choose the best sign for a reminder of what to do when you’re on the phone, such as look at a book.
Provide opportunities for students to gain greater relationship skills.
Relationship skills are something we develop continuously throughout our lives. The ways we communicate, negotiate conflicts, cooperate, and seek help from others when needed are invaluable skills for life success.
- Create opportunities for your child to practice their oral communication skills by using technology to connect with others outside of your home.
- Schedule a call at least every other day so your child can talk with someone beyond those in your household. This could be a family member, friend, neighbor, etc.
- Help keep kids focused by planning an activity for the call:
- Family members (e.g., grandparent, aunt, older cousin) or friends can do a video read aloud and ask questions.
- Peers can share about their day or show and tell about a favorite toy or game on a video chat.
- For voice-only calls, which may be more difficult for holding a young child’s attention, help your child rehearse what they’d like to talk about before getting on the phone.
- The calls may be short, but they are chances for kids to practice communication skills and experience how we communicate in different ways depending on who we are talking with.
Choose Your Own Ending
Using social stories can be an effective way to talk through conflicts with your child.
- During mealtimes, before bed, or at another downtime during the day, tell your child a made-up story.
- Ensure that the conflict in the story is something that your child can relate to, such as sharing toys, picking what TV show to watch, not wanting to get out of bed or go to bed, etc.
- Pause in the middle of the story once the conflict is established and ask your child how they think the characters in the story should proceed.
Responsible Decision Making
Provide opportunities for students to gain greater skills in responsible decision making.
Good Decisions Recipe
We each make hundreds of decisions every day. Helping young kids begin to understand how to make responsible decisions is an important life skill.
- Explain to your child that when we cook or bake, we follow a recipe to know the steps for making something come out tasting yummy.
- When we make decisions, we also follow a recipe to help us make good choices.
- Print the Good Decisions Recipe (below) or use your own format to make a recipe card.
- If you’d like, ask your child to decorate the recipe card with positive images that encourage them to make good choices.
- Hang your recipe card somewhere visible and use it as a guide when your child has a decision to make.