Eanes ISD

Elementary (Grades K-5)

Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

Featured Tip

Teaching Social Awareness and Empathy Today

Children model how they see adults act.  They are more inclined to do what we do instead of doing what we say.  This is especially true in terms of how we treat others and how we model empathy and compassion.  We believe that social awareness and empathy can be taught - that children can learn how to understand the feelings of others, even if they come from diverse backgrounds or traditions. To foster this skill in our children, we often have to block out a lot of the noise of the outside world and find opportunities to model and embrace empathy.  

Social awareness is among the five core competencies of Social Emotional Learning (SEL), something we have been teaching our students about for a number of years.  At Eanes ISD, this skill is the foundation upon everything else we teach our students. Social awareness is the district focus during the third nine weeks of each school year. Specifically, a healthy social awareness is about:

  • Taking others’ perspectives
  • Recognizing strengths in others
  • Demonstrating empathy and compassion
  • Showing concern for the feelings of others
  • Understanding and expressing gratitude
  • Identifying diverse social norms, including unjust ones
  • Recognizing situational demands and opportunities
  • Understanding the influences of organizations and systems on behaviors

The primary goal of the DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) initiative in Eanes ISD is to help build a school community of trust by encouraging an understanding of and appreciation of our differences.  We want our students to understand that we are all unique in our own way and that it is our differences that make us the remarkable people we are. By treating each other with understanding, respect, and kindness, we have the opportunity to enrich our own lives by learning about people who are different from us.  

What can each of us do to promote social awareness and empathy? While this is difficult during a pandemic when we may not be able to interact as much with each other in the broader community, some of us have more time than usual together as families.  Helping our children talk about and process what they are seeing and reading about in the news and on social media is an important part of their developing a healthy understanding of and compassion for others.  Helping them understand how their actions towards others may either contribute to someone feeling loved and accepted or make them feel marginalized and inferior.

Each of us can be a role model for a child, whether or not we have children of our own. In the words of Brene Brown, “First and foremost, we need to be the adults we want our children to be...we should model the kindness we want to see.”

Please check out these links with more ideas on how to teach your child to become more socially aware and empathetic. 

3 Strategies to Improve Social Awareness in Children

6 Great Ways to Foster Tolerance and Empathy in Your Children

All Tips

Children model how they see adults act. They are more inclined to do what we do instead of doing what we say.  This is especially true in terms of how we treat others and how we model empathy and compassion.  We believe that social awareness and empathy can...

The second nine weeks of the 2020-21 school year is upon us, and what a ride it’s been up until this point.  From the time we went into Remote Learning last March until now, parents, students, and Eanes ISD staff have had to roll with the punches. We were all required to reflect on our values and to build grit.  Reflection and resiliency are skills that we as parents and educators want to build within our students and ourselves. We want our children to be...

Welcome to the 2020-21 school year!  Even though the start of this school year is unlike any we have had before, we begin like we always have by fostering, modeling, and teaching relationship skills.  This teaching happens in the classroom, whether remote or in person, as well as in the home.  As we navigate uncharted territory for the start of the 2020-21 school year, teaching relationship skills and connecting with family members, friends, and teachers may be more important now than ever before.

Throughout the school year, we have been sending information related to the five SEL competencies. This will be our final message for this year. The COVID-19 pandemic has given everyone in our community the challenge of practicing our resiliency skills as we have had to shift our idea of what is “normal” and of what we can expect to happen...

Empathy is a skill that can be taught, developed, and strengthened like a muscle. It is the ability to feel with and through another person creating an understanding that each person is a unique individual, and not a stereotype of race, gender, class, etc... 

Dr. Leonard emphasized the importance of connecting with our children and talking “about ways to handle stress and to find healthy solutions when faced with adversity.” Self-Management is the ability to adjust and manage one’s behavior. It is an underpinning for resiliency. Self-Management/Resiliency is the Eanes Independent School District focus for the second nine weeks. 

As responsible parents, educators and leaders, it is our obligation to try to model and teach healthy relationship skills. Teaching tolerance and encouraging our children to develop good relationships with others who may not share their exact values or beliefs is critical to their development and success. One way to help our children is to “seize teachable moments” when reading a book or watching TV...

Dr. Leonard has stressed the importance of creating a safe learning environment for all children - an environment that fosters respecting all, caring for each other, communicating in a civil manner, and listening well while always being kind. Cultivating kindness is part of becoming socially aware and of learning to be empathetic...

Resilience is not something kids are born with or born without. It is a skill that can be taught. Teaching kids to be reflective is also an important skill that enables children to learn from their mistakes...

As we begin the 2018-2019 school year, students are getting to know new teachers and new classmates. As parents and educators, our wish is for our children to build strong positive relationships with adults and peers. Social and emotional learning (SEL) helps students...

One way to support your child in growing into a successful adult is to teach responsible decision making.

Empathy is being able to understand and value someone else’s perspective. It’s having compassion for others even when they are different from ourselves.

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) focus highlights self-awareness and self-management. “There is an emerging body of research that indicates mindfulness can help children improve their abilities to calm down when they are upset and to make better decisions,” which is being self-aware.

How to practice social skills and nurture relationship-building abilities with your child in 3rd grade.

When we “make caring for others a priority and set high ethical expectations,” we are teaching our children how to be empathetic.

Unstructured play time gives children the opportunity to learn how to work with others and how to negotiate with peers.

In order to support your child in learning skills that support self-awareness/reflection, "encourage estimation and prediction skills.

Teaching your children how to play age appropriate games and encouraging play without adult interaction supports children in learning how to self-regulate.

"The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier."

Children learn self-management skills and resiliency by having the opportunity to think for themselves.