Social Emotional Learning & The Magic of Dance – Part II

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Social Emotional Learning & The Magic of Dance – Part II

SEL is an important intervention that contributes to a person’s cognitive development and mental health from childhood into adulthood.  In this 4-part series, we are specifically setting out to define Social Emotional Learning (see Part I), examine the importance of developing emotional skills from childhood into adulthood, explore the importance of developing pro-social skills alongside emotional skills, and conclude by revealing why dance is one of the most powerful tools for learning and practicing SEL skills at any age.

Emotional Competency Skills: Childhood into Adulthood

People will carry emotional competency and relational/prosocial skills with them for the rest of their lives, and it starts in elementary school.  These skills are a part of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in schools because it has a great effect on emotional intelligence development.

In addition to SEL interventions, regular exposure from family members asking children questions relating to their own emotions, helps build emotional intelligence from an early age.

Possible interventions and questions to ask children: 

  • What is going on?
  • How are you feeling?
  • Why do you feel this way?
  • Invite children to draw a picture of how they are feeling.
  • Adults can help a young child build emotional vocabulary by pairing up basic emotions with relatable descriptions of how those emotions feel.

Having age-appropriate, transparent, and patient conversations in a non-judgmental manner with children is also very important.  Adults can teach the next generation the ability to acknowledge their own feelings without having judgement for experiencing them.  It is also necessary so that the next generation can talk openly about mental health in everyday conversations without shame.


Children have to regulate their behaviors to not have temper tantrums.  Adults still have to regulate their emotions and behaviors as well.  For example, if adults have a bad day at work, then it is expected that they do not take it out on their loved ones when they come home.  Adults are expected to be perceptive of others’ emotions.  And of course, adults still have to understand their own emotions.

Frequent conversations, along with SEL, is the start of eliminating mental health stigma, and therefore can create normalization.

CONTINUE TO PART III: In the next post, we delve deeper into defining relational/prosocial skills and examine the importance of developing these skills from childhood into adulthood.

Partner dancing intuitively teaches social emotional skills, and it’s fun too!  Check out Dancing with Class for more information on our innovative approach to SEL.

For classrooms anywhere: check out EduMotion: SEL Journeys , an experiential learning for  classrooms around the world.

Other Resources:



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