In 2019, The Learning Partnership, in collaboration with Qualicum School District (B.C.), created a set of Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Conversation Cards for use in the Welcome To Kindergarten program. With photographs on one side and conversation starters on the other, the cards spark discussions on solving problems peacefully, getting along with others, and being secure and calm, compassionate and kind, alert and engaged.
“Children who are able to talk about their feelings, self-regulate, and build friendships with others have greater success in school and life,” said Carey Nickerson, Early Learning District Lead, School District 61 (Greater Victoria, B.C.). “The cards also offer a scaffold for parents and educators to develop these skills and competencies in young children,” she added.
For the SEL pilot underway in B.C., each Welcome to Kindergarten orientation session includes a module where parents are coached on how to use the cards with their children at home. A set of cards is included in each Welcome to Kindergarten resource bag. Teachers are trained to facilitate these conversations between parents and their children.
“Today’s technology has changed the way we interact and communicate with one another,” said a Kindergarten teacher who is implementing the pilot. “Now more than ever, SEL skills need to be explicitly taught and modelled to nurture socially and emotionally competent children. SEL in the early years can be thought of as an early intervention that is crucial to helping children learn to navigate these complicated times.”