Tomorrow is Juneteenth! On this day we celebrate the moment the slaves were made aware of their new freedom in 1865. We encourage you to make it a family tradition to celebrate and use it to teach social emotional learning. Social emotional learn consists of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making. This holiday can definitely teach social awareness.
You may hear people talk about social awareness as an important skill. Social-awareness is showing understanding and empathy for others. It's about being able to understand the perspective of others from different cultures and backgrounds.
The truth is that social awareness is important for people of all ages. It helps us thrive at home, at school, at work, and in our relationships with others. And it cultivates positive self-esteem. Social-awareness doesn't come right away. It happens over time. The process begins when children begin to understand others' perspectives, emotions and needs. The components of this are empathy and organizational awareness.
Some children have a hard time learning theory of mind, especially those who have a hard time reading social cues. It does not actually mean that they don't care for other people's feelings. Instead, they may not be aware of or understand other people's feelings.
When children understand better, it is easier for them to develop positive self-esteem. This is important for children who have problems at school or with friends. It's an opportunity for them to not only look at your challenges, but also their strengths. Social-awareness also leads to self-reflection about things that are happening and looking for ways to do better next time.
For a holiday like Juneteenth that has to do with the enslavement and mistreatment of African-Americans, social awareness is important. Learning about this part of history allows black children to connect with their ancestors and understand their resilience. It allows children to understand more about American systems and how sometimes the government fails us. The empathy that we all feel for former slaves pushes us to fight for equality.
Depending on the age of the child it may be a great learning opportunity to challenge them on what slaves may have been thinking and feeling. And on what the effects on them may have been after, and what effects still take place today.
To recap, the skills that develop social awareness include:
Identifying verbal and physical cues to determine how others feel
Taking others’ perspectives
Demonstrating empathy and compassion
Showing concern for the feelings of others
Understanding and expressing gratitude
Recognizing strengths in others
Identifying diverse social norms, including unjust ones
Recognizing situational demands and opportunities
Caring about and being motivated to contribute to the well-being of one’s family, friends, school, community, the environment, and the greater good
So find an event to go to this weekend, find a movie to watch, or go to a civil right museum. Create an opportunity to encourage being socially aware. Holiday's are a great time to teach kids social emotional learning! Let us know how you’re celebrating and use the links below for access to activity sheets in honor of Juneteenth.
We will leave you with this question: what are the needs of those in your community and how can you help?
Activity sheets link:
Until next time!