The importance of social-emotional learning and wellness in school and at home has never felt more urgent for families and educators. And while we realize that family workshops and professional development may feel like another thing to do amidst the chaos, one thing we hear repeatedly from our educators and families is that Girls Leadership programs are different. For example, educators often tell us that professional development — like our upcoming Bringing Gender and Racial Equity to SEL on August 22 or September 26 — feels like a community retreat to explore their identity and practice wellness with unconditional support and care. We say it time again but truly, we are here for you.
Part of what we will cover in the webinar is understanding trauma and engaging with students with a healing-centered perspective. This is essential content for all of us working to address what the U.S. Surgeon General calls a “national emergency of child and adolescent mental health,” which the data shows to be disproportionately impacting girls. Given the uptick in students needing to learn at home, while quarantining or for remote learning, we wanted to share a little gift today: our recommendations for how to create a wellness-centered learning environment at home. This exercise comes from our popular free guide, Social-Emotional Check-ins for In-Person Learning, which includes 26 check-in activities to do with students.
We hope this exercise is helpful to you. Click on the image below or this link to download the printable worksheet; the plain text version of the instructions is below. The objective of this exercise is to give students voice and choice in the creation of their home environments. Note that the checklist questions are not comprehensive — feel free to add, delete, or adjust as needed. Also keep in mind that some students’ home environments may not be conducive to healing in ways they can’t control. Check in with students about what they can control and how you can support.
How To Create A Wellness-Centered Learning Environment At Home
Prompt: Invite students to use this checklist to take stock of their own surroundings right now. If there are any immediate shifts they can make to align with the checklist, they can go ahead and make them.
Discussion/Follow-up: What adjustments did students make? Invite them to share out.
Differentiation: This can be a close-out prompt, followed by a check-in the next day.
Healing-Centered Environment for Home Checklist
Notice your body:
- Are you hungry or thirsty? If so, grab a light snack or something to sip on during class.
- Do you have to go to the bathroom? If so, take a quick break.
- Are your muscles tense? Bring your attention to your breath and imagine the tension leaving your body with every exhale.
Notice your environment:
- Is the lighting harsh or soothing?
- Is the temperature comfortable?
- Is your workspace organized?
- Is your workspace decorated?
- What would you need to feel at peace in your workspace?