A lot of kids are labelled as stubborn, difficult, troublemakers and so on by teachers and management in school and often parents also tend to get flustered by the conduct that the kid is displaying. The stance actively visible in viewing people in general, and little people too, is that of “ What’s wrong with them” rather than “ What’s happening for them”.

This question of “ What’s happening for them” and the role of schools and educators in facilitating a space where kids can regulate and have a holistic learning environment , where their social and emotional development is also taken care of,will be looked into in this article. As kids spend most of the time in schools, and it is the place where most of the learning happens , it is the school’s responsibility to cater to these needs, as the experiences that are happening in kid’s lives, constantly shape them.

This question of “What’s happening for them” can be answered,if only one looks at these people with curiosity, a deep sense of wanting to know and holding space for what is happening for them. It will come to notice that it is often a sense of emotional overwhelm by what is happening around them. They often tend to carry what is called “INVISIBLE BACKPACK” , which contains their worries and anxieties. Kids often operate from their emotional brain; right brain as their brain is not fully developed.

This invisible backpack gets heavier with the continuous experiences and interactions kids have, if they are not attended to. What constitutes and makes this Invisible backpack: neglect, trauma, abuse, aggression around them, bullying, change, uncertainty, and also the several systems that impact them; neurotypicality, ableism, poverty and so on. The kids often are processing what is happening, and continuous stimulation that is happening, and the place where they spend most time at, their schools need to step up and cater and hold children with care.

Most of the schools in India are very academics oriented, and often do not hold space and hold a penalizing stance towards the kids.Although some attempts are being made, there is a long way to go.

What makes the INVISIBLE backpacks lighter ? Attending to kids needs, a sense of safety, attunement, Appropriate structured environment, healthy modelling, listening and a focus on Social-Emotional learning (SEL) can help with it and lead to a holistic well-aided learning environment for the kids.  According to a study by  Ready to Lead, CASEL,  it was seen that kids who receive SEL, scored 11 percentile higher on average than those who did not. (2011)  

What encompasses SEL ?  

Source: https://casel.org/core-competencies/ 

What are some of the things that can be done to enhance SEL: Modelling empathy, Listening, Mindfulness , Creating awareness, and cultivating social emotional skills.

There are some ways in which this is already happening in the communities around us, and some amazing ways and prospects, in which this can be done.  We will be further exploring SEL , the know-hows of how individuals are responding to what is happening , and what all can be done in our upcoming blog posts. We already post a lot of Instagram content and blogs, encompassing all facets of SEL which are aimed at cultivating intentional and mindful living. Do go and check out the posts.

We at Pause for Perspective are focused on cultivating mindfulness intentional living, and believe that the “Problem is the Problem, the Person is not the Problem ”. We, at Pause for Perspective, are doing our small part in forwarding the SEL movement as a patriarchy deconstructing, social justice based, LGBTQIA+ and neurodiversity affirmative MHI, through our counselling services and Mental Health Awareness Projects. We cultivate all the 5 facets of SEL,through our mental health awareness workshops and specialized workshops, where we deconstruct issues like consent, sexual awareness, gender awareness, gender sensitivity, peer pressure, bullying, self-emotions and so on. We deconstruct and make the ways individuals are already coping visible to them through these workshops.

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Written by Therapist and Fellow Srivalli