Emotions.. Emotions.. Emotions… If you are an early childhood teacher you know the importance of social emotional learning for our students! As a preschool teacher this is the main focus of our curriculum and is the foundation for helping students bloom into caring, empathetic, critical thinking, solution oriented, and independent adults.
A major piece of social emotional learning is to identify feelings. However, getting little ones to understand and identify their feelings can be difficult. At a surface level most can identify happy or sad but don’t necessarily understand why they are feeling that way or how to appropriately deal with those feelings. So when someone doesn’t know something.. we try to teach them 🙂
Our kiddos need a lot of repetition, visuals, and examples to help them learn! In my preschool classroom we use this awesome visual pictured above, daily to help teach and enforce identifying feelings! This visual works as an amazing tool to allow students to self identify feelings throughout the school day. It also lets them see how their peers are feeling. You can buy these adorable emotions clip art from Kari Bolt here!
How to use. In order to make this daily activity successful, we introduced each feeling listed and had several conversations about each of them. We acted out of the feelings and gave scenarios for why we might feel each of these emotions. Once students are ready- you can have them use a picture to identify how they are feeling. We like to have them do it at the beginning of the school day but you could pick a time that works best for your class. Then during our Morning Meeting we give them an opportunity to share their feeling and give an explanation as to why they are feeling that way. Make sure you give them several opportunities throughout the day to change their feeling on the chart and to share how they are feeling!
It is important to remember that your preschoolers will not master identifying and explaining their feelings right away. This process takes all year and you will see immense growth throughout the year, if you teach SEL every day! Whether you are preschool teacher or a parent hopefully this SEL idea will be helpful and can supplement other strategies you are already using!