Emotional ABCs uses multiple evidence-based approaches to increase children’s social-emotional learning (SEL) skills. Students progress through a series of workshops that focus on five elements of SEL: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship building, and responsible decision making. Each workshop is based on evidenced-backed theory and activities.
The Premium Programs include three years of SEL workshops that build on one another as children build their SEL skills. The Premium workshops are designed to be used in a teacher-led classroom with children in grades 1 - 3. Emotional ABCs has been developed to be implemented in a general education classroom during a regular school day with opportunities to reinforce concepts throughout an entire school day.
Emotional ABCs is intended to appeal to students ages 4-11 given that research shows social-emotional interventions have the greatest effects when delivered in early childhood.(1) Emotional ABCs’ full Curriculum, Teacher Guide, and “How To” tutorials are all included within the EmotionalABCs.com website.
The following details outline the five SEL elements built into Emotional ABCs and how they are implemented in the program curriculum.
Students’ ability to understand their own emotions and thoughts, and how they may influence their behavior.
Fundamental to social-emotional skills is students’ ability to recognize and understand how their emotions and thoughts can influence their behavior.(2) Research has found that self-awareness helps students better manage and control their own emotions.(3) Self-awareness includes skills related to recognizing verbal and non-verbal cues. Developmental theorists consider this self-awareness to be a prerequisite skill children must develop before exercising other emotional regulation and decision-making skills. (4) (5)
Self-awareness is a primary focus in year 1, and is revisited in years 2 and 3.
Students’ ability to control or manage their own emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different contexts.
Being able to control and manage emotions is a necessary social skill that children must develop.(6) Successful self-management can help students in several ways, and has been linked to improved attention, motivation, and academic performance.(7) (8) When students are able to manage their emotions, they are also more likely to achieve success with other skills like goal-setting(9) and empathy. (10)
Self-management is a primary focus in years 1 and 2. Year 3 begins with a review of self-management skills learned in years 1 and 2.
Students’ ability to understand what others are thinking and feeling, and to be able to empathize with them.
Beyond self-awareness, students must also be able to understand what others are thinking and feeling, and be able to empathize with them. Empathy is related to a number of prosocial behaviors such as helping and cooperating with others.(11) Higher levels of empathy also help students regulate their own aggression and other antisocial behaviors.(12)
Social awareness is a primary focus in year 2. Year 3 begins with a review of self-management skills learned in years 1 and 2.
Students’ abilities to build and maintain social relationships with others, and have healthy and effective interactions in a diversity of settings.
The classroom is a social space, and students’ success depends on how well they can build and maintain social relationships with other students and teachers. Students who can apply emotional knowledge, especially in challenging situations, are perceived as more social skilled.(13) This can help foster a positive learning environment, which in turn helps all students further develop autonomy, self-discipline, and ethics.(14)
Relationship building skills are integrated into all workshops, and are explicitly taught in the workshops below.
Students’ ability to make appropriate decisions about their behaviors in different social settings.
Central to SEL skills is students’ ability to translate their ability to understand their own and others’ emotions into responsible, prosocial decisions. This is particularly relevant in emotionally charged situations where aggressive and anti-social behavior can occur and cause problems. Students’ must learn to consider various responses to others and make decisions that solve problems in socially and personally constructive ways.(15) (16) Responsible decision making helps create a safer and more respectful classroom environment, helping all students succeed.(17)
Responsible decision making is emphasized in year 1 and 2.
There are several best practices that will help with effective implementation of Emotional ABCs. These are detailed further in the Emotional ABCs Teacher Guide.
1. Practitioner's guide to emotional regulation in school-age children. Macklem, G. (2010), New York: Springer Science + Business Media, LLC.
2. What is emotional intelligence. Mayer, J. D., & Salovey, P. 31, 1997, Emotional development and emotional intelligence: Educational implications, Vol. 3.
3. Supporting emotional regulation in elementary school: Brain-based strategies and classroom interventions to promote self-regulation. Lipsett, A.B. 1, 2011, LEARNing Landscapes, Vol. 5, pp. 157-175.
4. Promoting emotional competence in school-aged children: The effects of the PATHS curriculum. Greenberg, M. T., Kusche, C. A., Cook, E. T., & Quamma, J. P. 1, 1995, Development and psychopathology, Vol. 7, pp. 117-136.
5. Emotion knowledge, emotion utilization, and emotion regulation. Izard, C. E., Woodburn, E. M., Finlon, K. J., Krauthamer-Ewing, E. S., Grossman, S. R., & Seidenfeld, A. 1, 2011, Emotion Review, Vol. 3, pp. 44-52.
6. The role of emotionality and regulation in children's social functioning: A longitudinal study. Eisenberg, N., Fabes, R. A., Murphy, B., Maszk, P., Smith, M., & Karbon, M. 5, 1995, Child Development, Vol. 66, pp. 1360-1384.
7. School readiness: Integrating cognition and emotion in a neurobiological conceptualization of children’s functioning at school entry. Blair, C. 2, 2002, American Psychologist, Vol. 57, pp. 111-127.
8. Emotional expressivity and emotion regulation: Relation to academic functioning among elementary school children. Kwon, K., Hanrahan, A. R., & Kupzyk, K. A. (. 1, 2017, School Psychology, Vol. 32, pp. 75-88.
9. Social and emotional intelligence: Applications for developmental education. Liff, S. B. 3, 2003, Journal of Developmental Education, Vol. 26, pp. 28-34.
10. The impact of developing social perspective-taking skills on emotionality in middle and late childhood. Bengtsson, H., & Arvidsson, Å. 2, 2011, Social Development, Vol. 20, pp. 353-375.
11. Theory of mind and prosocial behavior in childhood: A meta-analytic review. Imuta, K. Henry, J. D., Slaughter, V., Selcuk, B., & Ruffman, T. 8, 2016, Developmental Psychology, Vol. 52, pp. 1192-1205.
12. Feshbach, N. D., & Feshbach, S. Empathy and education. The social neuroscience of empathy. Cambridge : MIT Press, 2009, pp. 85-97.
13. Denham, S. A. Social and emotional learning, early childhood. . Encyclopedia of primary prevention and health promotion. Boston, MA : Springer, 2003, pp. 1009-1019.
14. Bear, G. G. Developing self-discipline and preventing and correcting misbehavior. Boston : Allyn and Bacon, 2005.
15. Observing preschoolers’ social-emotional behavior: Structure, foundations, and prediction of early school success. Denham, S. A., Bassett, H. H., Thayer, S. K., Mincic, M. S., Sirotkin, Y. S., & Zinsser, K. 3, 2012, The Journal of Genetic Psychology, Vol. 173, pp. 246-278.
16. Executive function and the promotion of social-emotional competence. Riggs, N. R., Jahromi, L. B., Razza, R. P., Dillworth-Bart, J. E., & Mueller, U. 4, 2006, Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, Vol. 27, pp. 300-309.
17. Orpinas, P., & Horne, A. M. Bullying prevention: Creating a positive school climate and developing social competence. Washington, D.C. : American Psychological Association, 2006.
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