In this season of constant change and continued COVID disappointment, adding a dash of any anxiety to our lives can allow emotions to rule our brains! In a nutshell, 2020 could be described as “highly emotional” for most of our students. We are so happy that God had already led us to bring our social and emotional literacy to campus as a part of every K-8th grade classroom. Our Social and Emotional Literacy (SEL) program is one of the favorite things in each of our classes as students are exposed to the idea that they can recognize, identify and change their own feelings about any situation they find themselves in.
A special thanks also goes to our friends at the Arnette house for their help in getting the SNAP program into our 2nd through 4th-grade classes. SNAP, you ask? What does SNAP stand for? Our students who are currently enjoying this program will proudly tell you what the acronym is, accompanying each word with a hand motion. To save time and the embarrassment of me doing a video of the motions, I will just tell you what SNAP stands for: Stop Now And Plan. A simple yet powerful idea.
Through this program, children are encouraged to describe how they feel, (angry, frustrated, mad, sad); how their bodies change/feel (hot, tense, red face, fast heartbeat, hands in fists); and what they may be thinking when they are angry or upset (I can’t believe this is happening to me, I’m going to get him back). They learn to identify the problem, which is the trigger.
- Stop: We teach the students things they can do to calm themselves down. They learn to snap their fingers, count to ten or take a few deep breaths.
- Now And: Students learn they can help themselves calm down with ideas like, “I can stop, I need to stop!” and “this is hard but I can do it.”
- Plan: Our students pick a plan that will work for them. They learn to discuss the problem with the other person involved, use words and “I statements” to talk about the problem, walk away, ask for help from a friend or teacher, etc.
We are currently learning how to notice our body cues. When I get angry, my heart beats fast and my face feels hot or when I am anxious, my body tingles and I feel hot all over.
Some of our funniest moments have been when the students get to role-play a tense situation. Through the laughter, we learn how to handle a situation with integrity: “Making our problems smaller instead of bigger” to use a S.N.A.P. phrase. We are grateful to have these programs available to us as we all grow through these uncertain times.