Alakai O Kauai Social Emotional Learning

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Culture: Components of Social-Emotional Learning — Gratitude

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Did you know that consciously practicing gratitude can help improve your physical and psychological health?

Did you know gratitude can enhance empathy, reduce aggression, improve self-esteem, and increase mental health?

Practicing gratitude is another vital component of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School’s approach to social-emotional learning (SEL), which is focused on whole-child development. Gratitude begins with increased awareness of our own experiences, and as we become more mindful we realize we have choices when it comes to our emotions.

And here’s the thing: Gratitude is not just about being thankful; it’s about showing appreciation and returning kindness to others. Another facet of gratitude is the expression of appreciation, when we become active by doing something to show we are thankful. A 2019 study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies found that gratitude is linked to happiness in children by age five. By instilling in learners early on the importance of gratitude, we are empowering them for a much fuller life.

There are four components to gratitude, as identified by UNC Chapel Hill’s Raising Grateful Children Project:

  • Noticing: Did someone do something nice for you? Did someone give you something or take you somewhere fun?
  • Thinking: What are all the reasons you’re thankful for this? Why do you think someone did something nice for you? Does this mean something to you?
  • Feeling: When you think about these special things or people, how do you feel?
  • Doing: What can you actively do to express your gratitude for this person, place, or thing?

Gratitude helps support social communication because it helps us understand others’ feelings, practice empathy, and learn the social power of kindness and appreciation. It also supports emotional development. Gratitude helps kids notice what makes them feel good and take time to focus on that.

True gratitude isn’t an action that needs to be taken as much as it’s an attitude to be cultivated so that gratefulness and kindness can become natural responses in our lives. Gratitude doesn’t simply happen; it must be practiced. And when it is, it has the power to change lives. Kids who know how to show appreciation, thankfulness, and kindness are kids who can — and will — change the world.

Watch: On Gratitude

Alakai O Kauai Mud Kitchen

Inspiration: Mud Kitchen Fun!

By Nicole Huguenin
Director of Arts Integration and Play Maker, Maker Learning Network

Remember: Kids are 100% washable!

Are you running out of ideas to entertain your bright learners at home? We have just the thing for you: Why not build your family’s very own mud kitchen?

Mud kitchens are so much fun for your kids! Not only do they completely engage children and provide you with some much-needed extra time, but they also encourage the following:

  • Exploration
  • Creativity
  • Imagination
  • Social Skills
  • Role-Playing
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Math
  • Sensory Play
  • Wonder and Joy

Did you know that dirt is healthy for your kids? Find out “The Dirt on Dirt” and the many health benefits of mud!

How to Make a Mud Kitchen

Mud kitchens can be as simple as a bowl, a stick, some dirt, and some water. They can also be a little more elaborate. Click here for our collection of mud kitchen ideas on Pinterest! Let your child’s imagination guide them in their mud kitchen adventures.

Mud Kitchen Supply Ideas

Items for mud kitchens need not be new. They can be things from around the house, or you can ask friends and relatives if they have any. Thrift stores are also a great place to find things for mud kitchens. See what you can find from this list:

  • Cupcake Tins
  • Wooden Spoons
  • Mashers
  • Whisks
  • Spatulas
  • Metal Bowls
  • Wooden Bowls
  • Sifter
  • Small Pans
  • Mortar and Pestle
  • Colanders
  • Ladles
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Rolling Pin
  • Pots and Pans
  • Expired Spices
  • Dried or Old Flowers

Remember: “Kids are 100% washable!” —Lisa Latimer, iLEAD Agua Dulce School Director

Have fun! #GETMUDDY

Be sure to share your mud kitchen photos with us here!

Alaka'i O Kaua'i

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Culture: Components of Social-Emotional Learning — Growth Mindset

At Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, we believe when kids learn how to face challenges, they grow into leaders. As part of our emphasis on social-emotional learning (SEL), we believe it’s important to develop what we call a growth mindset.

Let’s do a quick test. Do you tend to agree or disagree with the following statements?

  • My intelligence is something I can’t change very much.
  • I’m a certain kind of person, and there isn’t much I can do to change that.
  • I often get frustrated when I get feedback on my performance.
  • Trying new things is stressful, and I avoid it.

How we respond to these statements reveals whether we have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. Many children are raised and exposed to situations that create a fixed mindset, which may seem harmless on the surface, but actually creates long-term challenges for them in school and in life, when they fear failure and tend to avoid challenges.

Conversely, children who have a growth mindset are more likely to learn from their mistakes, tackle challenges head-on, and be motivated to succeed.

Some contrasting statements may be helpful for bringing this into focus:

  • A fixed mindset says: “Failure is the limit of my abilities.”
  • A growth mindset says: “Failure is an opportunity to grow.”

 

  • A fixed mindset says: “I’m either good at it or I’m not.”
  • A growth mindset says: “I can learn to do anything I want.”

 

  • A fixed mindset says: “My abilities are unchanging.”
  • A growth mindset says: “Challenges help me grow.”

 

  • A fixed mindset says: “My potential is predetermined.”
  • A growth mindset says: “My effort and attitude determine my abilities.”

 

  • A fixed mindset says: “Feedback and criticism are personal.”
  • A growth mindset says: “Feedback is constructive.”

 

  • A fixed mindset: “I stick to what I know.”
  • A growth mindset says: “I like to try new things.”

 

The development of a healthy growth mindset is all about helping kids realize and embrace their potential and equipping them to be empowered and fueled by challenges, rather than hindered by them.

A growth mindset will intrinsically motivate children to improve, learn, and grow in school and all other areas of their lives.

Writing in Scientific American, psychologist Carol S. Dweck unpacked “The Secret to Raising Smart Kids” and the importance of fostering a growth mindset, stressing the importance of seeing success as the result of hard work instead of simply inborn talent.

“When we gave everyone hard problems anyway, those praised for being smart became discouraged, doubting their ability,” she wrote. “In contrast, students praised for their hard work did not lose confidence when faced with the harder questions, and their performance improved markedly on the easier problems that followed” (emphasis ours).

Make no mistake, it is good to praise our children for their strengths and talents, but it is crucial to encourage them to see challenges as opportunities and to value their efforts. If they can learn and embrace this at school age, there’s no telling what they may achieve.

Watch: On Growth Mindset

Alakai O Kauai campus and learners

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School Culture: Components of Social-Emotional Learning — Grit

What does it take to really succeed? Some might call it drive or determination. At Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, we like to call it grit, and it is a crucial component of social-emotional learning.

We define grit as “having courage and resolve, and strength of character.” Someone with grit works hard and passionately, sets goals, and follows through. Why is grit important? Because to truly accomplish goals and thrive, we need the ability to persevere. Without grit, talent may be nothing more than unmet potential. That is why we believe it is so valuable to instill an understanding of grit early on in kids.

But how does one assess “grittiness”? A simple way is to see if you identify with some of these statements:

  • I enjoy projects that take time to complete.
  • I am working toward a long-term goal.
  • What I do each day is connected to my deepest personal values.
  • There is at least one subject or activity I never get bored thinking about.
  • Setbacks don’t discourage me for long.
  • I am a hard worker.
  • I finish whatever I begin.
  • I never stop working to improve.

Our approach to SEL has been deeply influenced by Angela Lee Duckworth, who has done extensive research in the area of grit. She suggests that one way to think about grit is to consider what it isn’t.

Grit isn’t talent. Grit isn’t luck. Grit isn’t how intensely, for the moment, you want something.

Instead, grit is about having a goal you care about so much that it organizes and gives meaning to almost everything you do. Further, grit means holding fast to that goal, no matter what.

There are many practical ways to foster grit in learners:

  • Help them see how their efforts can contribute to the well-being of others.
  • Nurture a growth mindset; a belief that the ability to learn is not fixed.
  • Ask them to set their own long-term goals.
  • Focus discussions on effort, tenacity, and learning from failures.

We believe as part of a curriculum that’s rich in project-based and social-emotional learning, when kids learn to model grit in their academic pursuits, their mindset will positively affect every area of their lives.

Watch This: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

iLEAD Together Tuesdays

Save the Date for #GivingTuesday!

#GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world on December 1, 2020, and every day. This #GivingTuesday, people around the world will be making online, year-end donations to causes and organizations they care about. We ask that you spread the word to your friends and family to think about financially supporting Alaka’i O Kaua’i in that special and simple way on December 1.

If you’d like to contribute now, please click to donate below. Your gift will directly benefit Alaka’i O Kaua’i keiki by providing hands-on curriculum, state-of-the-art technology, field trips, art materials, professional development, and the school’s day-to-day operating expenses that are not funded by the state. Mahalo for your support!

iLEAD Together Tuesdays

Save the Date for #GivingTuesday!

#GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world on December 1, 2020, and every day. This #GivingTuesday, people around the world will be making online, year-end donations to causes and organizations they care about. We ask that you spread the word to your friends and family to think about financially supporting Alaka’i O Kaua’i in that special and simple way on December 1.

If you’d like to contribute now, please click to donate below. Your gift will directly benefit Alaka’i O Kaua’i keiki by providing hands-on curriculum, state-of-the-art technology, field trips, art materials, professional development, and the school’s day-to-day operating expenses that are not funded by the state. Mahalo for your support!

Alakai O Kauai Social Emotional Learning

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Culture: Components of Social-Emotional Learning — Gratitude

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Did you know that consciously practicing gratitude can help improve your physical and psychological health?

Did you know gratitude can enhance empathy, reduce aggression, improve self-esteem, and increase mental health?

Practicing gratitude is another vital component of Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School’s approach to social-emotional learning (SEL), which is focused on whole-child development. Gratitude begins with increased awareness of our own experiences, and as we become more mindful we realize we have choices when it comes to our emotions.

And here’s the thing: Gratitude is not just about being thankful; it’s about showing appreciation and returning kindness to others. Another facet of gratitude is the expression of appreciation, when we become active by doing something to show we are thankful. A 2019 study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies found that gratitude is linked to happiness in children by age five. By instilling in learners early on the importance of gratitude, we are empowering them for a much fuller life.

There are four components to gratitude, as identified by UNC Chapel Hill’s Raising Grateful Children Project:

  • Noticing: Did someone do something nice for you? Did someone give you something or take you somewhere fun?
  • Thinking: What are all the reasons you’re thankful for this? Why do you think someone did something nice for you? Does this mean something to you?
  • Feeling: When you think about these special things or people, how do you feel?
  • Doing: What can you actively do to express your gratitude for this person, place, or thing?

Gratitude helps support social communication because it helps us understand others’ feelings, practice empathy, and learn the social power of kindness and appreciation. It also supports emotional development. Gratitude helps kids notice what makes them feel good and take time to focus on that.

True gratitude isn’t an action that needs to be taken as much as it’s an attitude to be cultivated so that gratefulness and kindness can become natural responses in our lives. Gratitude doesn’t simply happen; it must be practiced. And when it is, it has the power to change lives. Kids who know how to show appreciation, thankfulness, and kindness are kids who can — and will — change the world.

Watch: On Gratitude

Alaka'i O Kaua'i

Alaka’i O Kaua’i Culture: Components of Social-Emotional Learning — Growth Mindset

At Alaka’i O Kaua’i Charter School, we believe when kids learn how to face challenges, they grow into leaders. As part of our emphasis on social-emotional learning (SEL), we believe it’s important to develop what we call a growth mindset.

Let’s do a quick test. Do you tend to agree or disagree with the following statements?

  • My intelligence is something I can’t change very much.
  • I’m a certain kind of person, and there isn’t much I can do to change that.
  • I often get frustrated when I get feedback on my performance.
  • Trying new things is stressful, and I avoid it.

How we respond to these statements reveals whether we have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. Many children are raised and exposed to situations that create a fixed mindset, which may seem harmless on the surface, but actually creates long-term challenges for them in school and in life, when they fear failure and tend to avoid challenges.

Conversely, children who have a growth mindset are more likely to learn from their mistakes, tackle challenges head-on, and be motivated to succeed.

Some contrasting statements may be helpful for bringing this into focus:

  • A fixed mindset says: “Failure is the limit of my abilities.”
  • A growth mindset says: “Failure is an opportunity to grow.”

 

  • A fixed mindset says: “I’m either good at it or I’m not.”
  • A growth mindset says: “I can learn to do anything I want.”

 

  • A fixed mindset says: “My abilities are unchanging.”
  • A growth mindset says: “Challenges help me grow.”

 

  • A fixed mindset says: “My potential is predetermined.”
  • A growth mindset says: “My effort and attitude determine my abilities.”

 

  • A fixed mindset says: “Feedback and criticism are personal.”
  • A growth mindset says: “Feedback is constructive.”

 

  • A fixed mindset: “I stick to what I know.”
  • A growth mindset says: “I like to try new things.”

 

The development of a healthy growth mindset is all about helping kids realize and embrace their potential and equipping them to be empowered and fueled by challenges, rather than hindered by them.

A growth mindset will intrinsically motivate children to improve, learn, and grow in school and all other areas of their lives.

Writing in Scientific American, psychologist Carol S. Dweck unpacked “The Secret to Raising Smart Kids” and the importance of fostering a growth mindset, stressing the importance of seeing success as the result of hard work instead of simply inborn talent.

“When we gave everyone hard problems anyway, those praised for being smart became discouraged, doubting their ability,” she wrote. “In contrast, students praised for their hard work did not lose confidence when faced with the harder questions, and their performance improved markedly on the easier problems that followed” (emphasis ours).

Make no mistake, it is good to praise our children for their strengths and talents, but it is crucial to encourage them to see challenges as opportunities and to value their efforts. If they can learn and embrace this at school age, there’s no telling what they may achieve.

Watch: On Growth Mindset