Summer Learning Opportunities

Looking to incorporate social and emotional learning into your home this summer? Look no further! We’ve come up with a list of summer learning opportunities for you and your child!

As defined by CASEL, social and emotional learning is the process through which adults and children develop skills that help them understand and manage emotions, make decisions, achieve goals, and establish positive relationships with others (CASEL, 2016). When children have opportunities to develop their social and emotional skills, they are more likely to succeed academically and socially.

Try these summer learning ideas with your child:

  • Take a stance. It’s important to teach our children to have the courage to stand up for their values and beliefs – even if they may depart from societal norms. A great time to breach this is while watching or reading the news. Remind your child that at times, feeling afraid when standing up for what they believe in is natural and normal. If it’s something they feel strongly about, it’s important to summon up the courage to do so.
  • Practice growth mindset. Encourage your child to keep learning and growing by setting summer goals. This could mean learning a new instrument, just like our Peekapak pal Cody did in our story on perseverance, or it could mean taking on a new project to build a robot, like Apollo and Sebastian.
  • Embrace ME time. Sometimes we become so preoccupied with finding ways to fill up our children’s schedules that we overlook the value of allowing our children solitude. Spending time alone can help children develop self-awareness and self-management. It also helps them develop skills such as self-regulation and strategies to develop self-control. Help your child find their center of calm and peace through breathing exercises that can be practiced anywhere and anytime.
  • Spread kindness. Encourage your children to practice being kind to themselves and others. This may be helping a friend with a chore or returning a cart for someone at the grocery store. Remind your child that kindness is a trait that people appreciate universally but is often taken for granted. Acts of kindness don’t always need to be grand gestures. Be kind for the sake of being kind – not for the recognition.
  • Practice gratitude. Show your child the value of giving thanks and giving back and encourage them to practice it daily. There are many emotions connected to feelings of gratitude so it’s important to make time to talk about them.
  • Explore more ways to show empathy. As mentioned by professer Brene Brown, when we show empathy, we are fueling connections and learning to think from another perspective. Have your child practice putting on different shoes (literally!) to think from someone else’s point of view.
  • Consider honesty. A time may come when your child will be stuck at a crossroads deciding on whether to lie or tell the truth. Making this moral decision can sometimes be tricky, so reassure your child that there isn’t always one right or wrong way of thinking.
  • Have some WE time. Take on a project together! Work together to plant a garden or have family board game nights where you can practice teamwork skills such as cooperation, communication and collaboration. A valuable skill that can also be reinforced is respect for others’ thoughts and ideas, as demonstrated by Zoey in the story The Peekapak Pals and the Berryball Champ.
  • Think optimistically. This is more than seeing the glass half full. It’s about adopting a mindset to have realistic and positive beliefs about yourself and your qualities. From a young age, we need to help our children realize that their habits of thinking negatively when something bad happens can be changed to reflect more realistic outcomes.

Which of these skills will you practice with your child this summer?

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Ami Shah is a Co-Founder & CEO of Peekapak, an edtech startup that teaches social-emotional learning skills like self-regulation, empathy and team work in the class and home. Peekapak is backed by; Silicon Valley based accelerator, Imagine K12, the Edtech vertical of Y Combinator and; the Unreasonable Institute.