Teaching Social Emotional Awareness in Kindergarten

 Teaching Social Emotional Learning and Mindfulness in Kindergarten can be intimidating, but I have found some helpful tools that can make it simple and inviting for the students to get to know how to express and label their emotions, calm down when upset, and learn how to be mindful of their feelings.

My favorite book to introduce emotions is The Color Monster.  I love this book because it starts out with introducing 5 emotions: calm (the goal for all students to have the best chance for academic focus and success), happy, fear, anger, and sadness.  These are basic emotions to get the topic started on what emotions are and why we feel them sometimes.

Book overview: The book is about a little monster that is all mixed up and feels his emotions all jumbled.  He learns to separate his feelings by color and put them in a jar.  This allows for a great discussion to talk with the students about what each feeling is.  

Once you read the book with your class (or pull it up on YouTube) I have some activities that accompany the book that you can use whole group, small groups, etc.

Find all of these resources in my STORE.
Students can sort different experiences that they might encounter at school according to how it would make them feel.  They can even have a Play Dough emotions mat in-front of them and make the face on the mat to match their response.  I included little color monster crafts where the students can pick from one of the 5 Color Monster Crafts and then write about their feelings on one of the jars.
This feelings flip book is perfect to have the student identify different feelings.  It is a perfect discussion starter to let the students know we ALL feel different emotions at different times, and that is ok!

I've found that teaching my students how to work together as a team will often offset conflict in my classroom. Most arguments start when students are trying to complete a task together and someone has a hard time working together.  The thing is, young learners need to be explicitly taught HOW to work together.  We can't assume that they enter school with social skills that can allow them to successfully work well in a group....especially when it isn't fee play and an academic task is involved.  Here are some ideas on how to introduce and teach teamwork to your students:

When students start to feel frustrated or upset it's important for them to be able to know WHY they are frustrated.  But first, students need to be mindful of their body and change in feelings before they even can label their emotions and then decide on a solution on how to resolve it.

Once students have been taught to notice cues in their body to tell them they have changing emotions, then can then work on labeling their feelings. Our goal for academic success and participation in class is for each student to be calm during instructional time.  Any other emotion can be distracting or throw their attention and mood off of instruction and onto something else.  You could have a daily check in, where the students share with you how they are feeling.

If students find themselves feeling anything other than calm you can provide a calm space in your room for the students to "calm down" (I would suggest looking on Pinterest for "calm down corner" examples).  Once they remove themselves from the group, they can check in and determine what they can do to reach a calm state.

Lastly, often times when the students are frustrated it is because there was an incident that happened at school in which there was conflict with another student.  It's important to teach your class how to resolve conflict with one another so they can have a safe atmosphere where they know a resolution can be reached when someone hurts their feelings.  As well as, they know they are responsible for apologizing and fixing the problem if they hurt a classmate.

If you are interested in the resources that I shared, you can check out The Color Monster Book Buddy that includes everything in this post!

Grab the resource HERE.


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