As an elementary school counselor I have been immersed and focused on the importance of SEL and trauma informed care before the pandemic. I feel that research has consistently shown that kids must be regulated before they can learn. Academics naturally flow when SEL has been cared for and nurtured. I believe that the pandemic is forcing us all to focus on SEL, and I think this will carry over into the classroom and remain there even after we get through this moment in history.
What is working to support well being is the continued relational interactions we have with students - whether is it an all school school dance party, daily mindful minute robocalls to the student body, a private phone call, or a letter. Just saying - we are still here, and we still care and we see you means so much to families right now.
My belief is that SEL practices begin with regulated staff members. We absolutely have to pay attention and intentionally support staff well being if we expect them to regulate students. This is done through experiential moments. I believe we must provide therapeutic support for teachers, and well being activities like free staff yoga directly after school. Opportunities that are provided based on the staff needs that are specific to communities will build the resilience that people need to support SEL for kids. Dr. Bruce Perry says that we cannot expect a dysregulated teacher to regulate a dysregulated student. To begin and continue effective SEL education we must care for the caregivers.