Social and emotional learning not only helps kids work together, it also improves achievement. The gains that schools see in achievement come from a variety of factors—students feel safer, SEL programs build work habits in addition to social skills, and kids and teachers build strong relationships. The goal of social and emotional learning is to give students the skills they need to work in teams, communicate their ideas, and manage their emotions.
Here is one strategy we implemented in the Summer of 2018:
Our students and staff worked collaboratively to construct a GaGa Ball Pit in our lower playground. GaGa is a lot like Dodge Ball; however it is played within a confined space using a soft ball. There are a lot of benefits to engaging students in this activity:
- It gets lots of children involved in a physical outdoor activity;
- It is easy to learn and anyone can win;
- It develops strategic thinking, agility, jumping, striking and dodging skills;
- Children won't lose interest throughout an entire recess period;
- The game develops hand-eye coordination while keeping children active; and
- The skills learned in GaGa Ball can translate to other sports.