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"Thinking Beyond the Boundaries Through Social and Emotional Learning"

Learn how to set your child up for success

September 2012

Every parent wants their child to the best they can be. Parents want their children to succeed in academics and sports, to form meaningful relationships with their peers, to be healthy, and most importantly, to be happy. Stress, the quiet enemy, can prevent your child from achieving his or her personal best in all of these areas of their life.

Research repeatedly finds that stress not only shuts down learning and increases negative emotions, but it also shuts down our immune systems. The carefree days of youth in the 50's are gone – today's children are exposed to a multitude of stressors starting very early in life.

Pressure to succeed in school has never been higher, so it's no surprise that stress levels in America's youth population are at an all-time-high as well. Studies found that 20 % of children and teens between the ages of 8 and 17 are experiencing chronic stress. Multi-tasking is one of the main culprits behind the stress in our children's lives.

In school, kids get instruction on math, language arts, history, creative arts, and so much more. Many schools, however, fail to provide the emotional and social lessons that children so desperately need to combat the daily stress in their lives. Emotional and social skills are truly the engines that drive learning, so why not reinforce them? We need and depend on the emotional and social skills to create a foundation for higher cognitive processes, improve test scores, and close achievement gaps.

Dr. Dan Goleman, author of the best-selling book Emotional Intelligence, describes these skills, defining the facets of emotional intelligence: "Emotional intelligence refers to how you handle your own feelings, how well you empathize and get along with other people – it's just a key human skill. But it also turns out that kids who are better able to manage their emotions, for example, actually can pay attention better, take in information better, and remember better. In other words, it helps you learn better."

So what do we do to create, nurture and enhance these important life skills? We provide experiences that encourage optimism, engagement, and the desire to focus. Optimism is critical to learning. A positive and optimistic disposition is directly and intimately tied to clear thinking processes, creative problem-solving, broadened perspectives, enhanced long-term memory, and a stronger and improved immune system; therefore an overall healthier mind and body.

Join Marian University's School of Education for an evening and daylong conference, September 14 and 15, 2012, to discover the power of emotional engagement inside classrooms and homes. This conference will prepare educators and parents with specific learning and behavioral strategies that intimately connect academics and positive emotion, enhancing relationships and creating classroom cultures that foster student and teacher success. Visit www.marian.edu/Education/Conference/Pages/default.aspx to register online.

Tags: Education, In This Issue, Local

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