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Mindful Dragon

4 months ago


What is Mindful Dragon?

Mindful Dragons is a resource for parents with information on Social Emotional Learning (SEL). For this edition we will be highlighting Self-awareness, one of the five core competencies.

What Does Self-awareness Look Like in the Classroom?

Carefully checking over your work in math, taking the time to see that you have spelled words correctly while writing, and analyzing what you have read in order to make connections and inferences are all important skills, particularly at higher levels of learning. Metacognition and self-awareness facilitates this reflection  about what one has learned.

How Can Parents Help?

One of the best things you can do to start supporting your student within the SEL competencies, including self-awareness is to just be involved.  


Within the classroom, self-awareness allows students to recognize their own emotions and see how others see them. This includes recognizing stress or negative emotions, being aware of one’s abilities and weaknesses as well as a “well-grounded sense of self-efficacy and optimism,”  It’s an important skill that can also help students learn how to self-advocate for themselves both socially and academically.

What Can You Do?

Ideas for helping kids to improve their Self-Awareness skills

  • Use checklists: Before your child begins a chore or task, develop a checklist together that will determine how effectively the task has been completed.

  • Express yourself: Model self-verbalization skills by expressing your thoughts and problem-solving strategies aloud. For example, verbalize statements such as, “This reminds me of the time when we tried to do this,”

  • Help your child set up a playdate with a friend. Prior to the friend’s arrival, try to anticipate some of the friend’s needs and interests. Have your child prepare some activities that they expect their friend will enjoy.

  • Work with your child to recognize what they look like when they are stressed or frustrated (etc) and encourage them to verbalize their feelings.

  • Estimate: Estimating how easy or difficult a task might be will assist your child to gage her ability to complete the task. Ask questions that encourage thinking about what might hinder, delay or prevent successful completion.

  • For younger children, talk about and label their emotions as they happen (e.g. “I notice you look frustrated...your mouth is frowning and you look like you are going to cry...why are you feeling frustrated?”) to help them identify their emotions.

  • When watching TV or reading stories, point out the emotions of characters and question how they know that the characters are feeling a certain way. What clues can they see on the character’s face, body language, actions, and words to figure out how the character is feeling.


What is Mindful Dragon?

Mindful Dragons is a resource for parents with information on Social Emotional Learning, including Growth Mindset.  

Because school is one of the primary places that students learn social and emotional skills, Frances Drake and the Leominster Public Schools are working on a systemic approach to Social Emotional Learning that involves everyone, from district and school personnel to community partners to family members, working together to ensure students receive the support they need.  

What is SEL?

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. (

Why Teach SEL?

Social and emotional learning (SEL) provides a foundation for safe and positive learning, and enhances students' ability to succeed in school, careers, and life. Image credit:

Research shows that SEL not only improves achievement by an average of 11 percentile points, but it also increases prosocial behaviors (such as kindness, sharing, and empathy), improves student attitudes toward school, and reduces depression and stress among students (Durlak et al., 2011). Effective social and emotional learning programming involves coordinated classroom, schoolwide, family, and community practices that help students develop the following five key skills: Self Awareness, Self Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, and Responsible Decision Making. (

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