Linking body cues to emotions for elementary aged children: an understanding by design curriculum for social-emotional learning
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America’s elementary-aged children are struggling in school. Teachers and parents report that children are demonstrating difficulty attending to and staying engaged with instructional activities in classrooms nationwide. As a result, teachers must manage children's dysregulation as it may impact their immediate learning abilities and produce further downstream consequences in the K-12 environment. These elementary-aged children are often referred to school-based occupational therapy. The referrals indicate social-emotional learning (SEL) deficits. These social-emotional processes and the child’s learning are negatively impacted by increased anxiety. Evidence supports these findings. In fact, the current literature on the topic reveals multiple contributing factors including sensory functions that link body cues to emotions. This doctoral project provides an overview of My Body Feelings (My BF) curriculum. This project details the curriculum’s development, and the specific connection of school-based interventions. My BF is informed by three educational theories including Sociocultural Theory, Social Cognitive Theory, and the Theory of Constructed Emotions. Curriculum materials and lessons are organized as well as structured for the instructors using the Understanding by Design Framework. The program incorporates current evidence-based intervention strategies in 21 accessible 30-minute sessions complete with take home Exit Tickets. The result is an educational curriculum which directly addresses decreased self-regulation in children. The skills developed in the program will drive situation-specific coping skill development in children in grade levels 1-5. The anticipated outcome is improved emotional health and well-being of today's elementary-aged children impacting their important occupational role of student.
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