This year your child will participate in our school wide social-emotional curriculum called Second Step. They will receive a lesson every week at circle time about feelings and how they should handle them. Children going on to the Lower Merion School District will continue this program next year.
Through the use of discussion pictures and group discussions guided by our teachers, your child will practice identifying strong feelings like fear, frustration, impatience, disappointment and anger. Since we often feel these emotions in our body, we feel uncomfortable. When confronted with one of these feelings, they will learn how to stop, name the feeling, put a hand on their stomach and take a few deep breaths. This will help their bodies calm down. When we are calm, it is easier to think about solutions to a social problem. Strong feelings often require an action on the part of your child, i.e. an apology, a helping hand, an invitation to play, etc. Besides identifying feelings in themselves, your child will learn empathy for others. Empathy is the ability to put yourself in another’s shoes and see things as that person would. Young children need help to develop and practice the skills related to identifying and labeling feelings in themselves and those around them.
Please try to reinforce these exercises at home as they naturally arise in the family setting. We tend to focus on academic and cognitive skills in our monthly newsletters and all the interesting work the children do at Bala House. But one of the most important things your child can take away from these years is to better understand feelings in those around them and to act in a way that demonstrates this. It takes a lot of work to shape and support a happy, well-adjusted child. Together, we can make it happen.