By Lauren Ranalli, MPH | March 17, 2021
Director of Marketing and Communications, ETR
As educators, we know that our students’ social and emotional well-being is intricately tied to their academic success. Research shows that education promoting social and emotional learning (SEL) improves classroom behavior, increases students’ ability to manage stress and depression, and improves attitudes about themselves, others, and school.
Now with students starting to transition back to the classroom, it feels more important than ever to ensure schools are supporting the social and emotional health of young people in our communities—and we can do that through our health education choices.
When determining how to teach health education in your school, make sure you are selecting a curriculum that addresses the following SEL competencies:
1.) Self-awareness: Allow students to explore their current health beliefs, values and attitudes, and assess their current health behaviors to identify strengths and challenges. Make sure lessons support a growth mindset by providing numerous opportunities for students to improve their skills through practice, feedback, and support.
2.) Self-management: Select lessons that help students manage stress, control impulses, and set and achieve health goals.
3.) Social awareness: Enhance health education lessons with activities that promote respect and empathy for others, encourage students to share their views on a variety of health issues, and teach skills to help them listen to the perspectives of others.
4.) Relationship skills: Include skill-building activities that focus on clear and effective communication, refusal and negotiation skills, conflict resolution, and getting help for health issues and problems.
5.) Responsible decision making: Teach and include time to practice specific steps and strategies for making safe and healthy decisions across a variety of health content areas.
As an organization committed to advancing health equity and improving health outcomes, ETR is proud to offer HealthSmart. HealthSmart is a science-based, comprehensive health education curriculum that addresses the core SEL competencies for curriculum and instruction outlined by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL). Currently being used in K-12 schools across the country, HealthSmart provides flexible formats and lesson planning tools to support both in-person and virtual learning.
Lauren Ranalli, MPH (she/her/hers) is a public health professional and the Director of Marketing and Communications at ETR. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.