Mastering the competencies of social and emotional learning (SEL) is critical for general well-being, healthy development, and academic success. Given its importance, schools should have SEL incorporated into their core curriculum.
Our study investigates the effects of BrainAhead’s eight-week mindfulness-based SEL course on children’s social and emotional competencies (assessed by the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment-Mini Form 1). This measure was completed by classroom teachers at the beginning and end of the study for each participating student.
Who were the participants?
193 students in kindergarten through second grade were recruited from 10 classrooms in four independent schools, in rural and suburban communities of a western Canadian province (British Columbia). Just over 33% of students experienced the Mindfulness course, while the rest went about their typical classroom routines.
Did BrainAhead’s Mindfulness course help with SEL?
YES! Students participating in the Mindfulness course showed a significant improvement in their social and emotional competencies. In contrast, children in the control group showed a decline in these competencies between the two timepoints the assessments were filled out. This suggests that the current class curriculum may not be sufficient for gaining competency in core SEL skills such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making, especially as children face an increase in stressors during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Based on these findings, BrainAhead’s Mindfulness course appears to be an effective resource for facilitating SEL in young children, as well as for improving their day-to-day functioning.
Executive Functioning (EF): This refers to higher-level cognitive skills such as planning, self-control, working memory, organization, and time management.
Social Emotional Learning (SEL): This refers to learning the core social and emotional skills vital for healthy development, general wellbeing, and academic success.
Social Emotional Competencies (SECs): These are the skills which SEL aims to improve. According to CASEL, the five core competencies are: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.