Workshop aimed at developing kids’ social and emotional abilities

Building social and emotional competence in your children is easier than it sounds, according to organizers of a workshop slated for Castlegar next week.

Building social and emotional competence in your children is easier than it sounds, according to organizers of a workshop slated for Castlegar next week.

Designed for parents and caregivers, the workshop will teach the adults skills for building strengths and assets with children.

“Our emotions and relationships affect what and how we learn and how we use what we learn in our lives,” said Betty Brown, a regional facilitator for mental health with Interior Health.

She, along with Angela M. Jaramillo, a doctoral student at UBC specializing in early childhood education, will be conducting the workshop.

“Relationships are the basis of everything we do: within our families, within our classrooms and of course, based on strong relationships are the whole range of social and emotional competencies,” Brown said.

Focused mainly for children in kindergarten to Grade 6, Brown said teaching children self-awareness, emotional regulation, social awareness (empathy and compassion), relationship skills and responsible decision-making are all important steps in shaping a person.

“When you think of parenting and children in school, although parents care about the marks that their students get, what they really care about is, ‘does my child have friends?’” Brown said.

These skills are important, she said, because when a student graduates, even if they’re the most academically gifted student, if they aren’t a team player and can’t make proper decisions, they’ll have trouble.

Brown said many children are facing anxiety as well, and learning concrete skills such as resiliency and coping can help them deal with it.

By employing these skills within children, Brown said they can perform better in school and have improved health and well-being.

The importance of children learning these skills is starting to make its way through the school system as well, Brown said.

In February, the School District 23 (Central Okanagan) board of education approved forwarding a resolution to the B.C. School Trustees Association (BCSTA) annual meeting, asking that the BCSTA lobby government officials to require mandatory course work in mental health and social and emotional learning for all teachers-in-training in the province.

The workshop, which is sponsored by the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy and Interior Health, takes place at the Mir Centre for Peace at Selkirk College on Tuesday, March 29 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

For more information or to register, contact Desneiges Profili at 250-364-2386 ext. 247 (dprofili@cbal.org) or Alana Murdoch at 250-304-6862 (amurdoch@cbal.org) by March 25.

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