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How does it show?
  • Through describing how we feel and encouraging children and others to describe and show how they feel.

  • Being able to reflect on how we think and feel and how it changes the way we behave.

  • Through an everyday approach, remembering that little things count.

  • Through emotional agility – being able to recognise feelings and adapt behaviour.

What can we do to stimulate?
  • By using an everyday approach and exploring feelings and thoughts from a child's perspective - through their eyes.

  • By asking - “What are you thinking and feeling now?”. Find out what makes their day. There are tools for this like the 'Make My Day Book' and 'Make My Day Postcard'. 

  • The 'Make My Day Diary' encourages students to reflect on which parts of their day are most or least stressful and how their behaviour might change as a result. This gives an opportunity to develop self-awareness and adapt behaviour.

  • The child can help us understand what works and what is less effective for them. This builds our understanding and their self-awareness too.



What is it?

The ability to understand our own emotions, thoughts and values and how they influence ourselves and others. It also involves  understanding the child's perspective.



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What is it?

Effectively controlling your feelings, thoughts and behavior in different situations to deal with a (possible) problem effectively and purposefully.


How does it show?

The student:

  • Recognizes and names emotions.

  • Explains how emotions, thoughts and behavior are related.

  • Recognizes behavioral chains (cause-effect).

  • Uses techniques to prevent impulsive behavior.

  • Uses techniques to calm themselves as situations escalate.

  • Know what his behavior causes in the other person.

  • Can name his part in a situation that got out of hand.

  • Is able to manage one's emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations and to achieve goals and aspirations.  


What can we do to stimulate?
  • SEL scan for the teacher.

As a teacher, it’s important to reflect on our self-management. We can use the 'Self-management - scan' below:

  • Control of emotions in stress

  • Acting with a purpose

  • Persevere in difficult situations

  • Looking for help in time

  • Using feedback from others


  • Modelling self management behaviours as a teacher or support staff member.

When modelling it might be useful to point out the behaviours to the students so that they can see it in action.

It is important to offer the children strategies so they can experience for themselves what works. Frog in Rest offers such opportunities.

  • Frog in Rest.

'Frog in Rest' is a rest bench in the classroom where cards can be found with exercises that students can do to find peace and be able to calm their emotional state e.g. drinking a glass of water, walking in the playground, reading a book, drawing...

A student who sits down on a bench can also be a signal for the teacher to respond and ask: “What is wrong and what do you need to feel better?"

Image by Tengyart



What is it?

A person's ability to consider the perspective of others and to understand the feelings, thoughts and behaviour of someone else.


How does it show?
  • Being able to show and understand how pupils are feeling.

  • Being able to see the pupils' perspective.

  • Being able to ask others (students) how they are feeling and thinking.

  • Being able to see differences and similarities in the feelings of the pupils.

  • Understand the non-verbal language of the pupils.

What can we do to stimulate?
  • Watch and reflect on the movie trailer “inside out

The animated film ‘Inside Out’  follows five personified emotions: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust. Filmmakers consulted psychologists and neuroscientists in order to achieve greater accuracy in their portrayal of the mind. It can be a useful and enjoyable tool to help explore social awareness.

  • Portray some different emotions in class and ask pupils to guess what they are.

  • Use and recognise different emoticons.

  • Active listening: giving full attention when others speak.

  • Reflect on what we can do to be a mediator of social awareness.

  • Consider and reflect on some dilemmatic situations. What is the problem in the following situation? How do the pupils feel? Could we improve the situation? What could our role be?

Situation 1. One pupil is finding it very difficult to make friends. Today you saw them isolated, in a corner, while others had fun playing together.

Situation 2. One pupil threatens to react furiously when their peers call them a ‘sissy’.

Situation 3. In a student presentation, one pupil is visibly shaken when they realise that their parents did not attend.

  • Make My Day Book

Year-6-children in Cornwall, UK have produced a book called “Make My Day”. They have also produced some postcards that ask two questions - “What makes your day?” and “How can you make someone else's day?”

Kids Spelen Tug of War


Relationship skills

What is it?

The ability to interact positively with peers and adults and to effectively navigate social situations.

Relationship building skills are a combination of soft skills (e.g. friendliness, collaboration, communication) that a person applies to connect with others and form positive relationships.

How does it show?

Demonstrating these skills to foster and maintain relationships:

  • Communicating clearly.

  • Active listening.

  • Non-verbal communication.

  • Cooperation with others.

  • Resisting or managing inappropriate social pressure.

  • Negotiating conflict constructively.

  • Seeking and offering help when needed.

  • Everyday acts of kindness.

What can we do to stimulate?
  • Integrate a Make My Day approach into every day.

  • Creating We

Creating We is a model that focuses on building a sense of togetherness, shared activity and connectedness. It recognises that when we engage in relationships we create a shared history, ways of behaving, a sense of understanding between each other and even, at times, a unique language. Creating We is about a shared responsibility for our relationships rather than “me” and “you”. It recognises that we bring our own unique contributions to a relationship and through interaction we blend them to create shared experience and understanding - the “We”. The model also recognises that the relationship will be influenced by the conditions and context in which it is taking place e.g. social setting, school, others e.g. teachers, students, parents, government.

  • Encourage and practise kindness everyday.

Relationship skills
Studenten tijdens de pauze



What is it?

A range of skills that students use to regulate themselves, learn to identify and manage their feelings and thoughts, and to plan and monitor their behaviour.

Over time, children need to move from being regulated by adults to regulate themselves.

Many people use the metaphor of self-regulation being an air traffic controller in the mind - managing the many thoughts and feelings that come with the challenges and expectations of life, like trying to land planes safely at the airport. The self regulator has to let some planes land quickly, ask others to fly around a bit more, while helping others take off.

If anxiety and stress become too much, it can prevent people from managing all of the planes (thoughts and feelings) and cause some to crash or not take off.

How does it show?

Whenever we need to reach a goal, we need to regulate ourselves.

For example: being a good friend, learning new things, doing the right thing as a teacher or parent, or handling a challenge, we need to do things in the right order.

First we think about the situation, then decide what to do, then take the first steps, and keep track of the right steps, until we finally reach the goal.

What can we do to stimulate?

We can:

  • Think about our feelings and thoughts and become more AWARE. We can think about different options before we act.

  • first PLAN, then move.

  • STOP for a while.

  • MONITOR the situation.

  • Consider different ALTERNATIVES.

  • Decide on STRATEGIES.

  • Look at how others do it.

  • Ask for assistance.

  • Do things together with the pupils to help them become independently skilled.

  • Be a role model in self-regulation.

  • Reason with the students about different options, the steps they can take and follow up.

Image by Byron Sterk
Working memory


Working memory

What is it?

Working Memory (WM) refers to the ability to store and maintain pertinent information. Our working memory allows us to store information temporarily while we do something else. When we need a particular bit of information for a task, we can retrieve it. It is closely related to attention and distraction. Working memory is important to draw on information we need to complete tasks and achieve goals.
Working memory is an important skill in learning, academic performance and in solving problems.

How does it show?

Working Memory is often related to attention. It is shown in activities that require working with some information in our memory while another step in a task is completed and then bringing back the information from memory.

What can we do to stimulate?

There are many activities involving the use of working memory that teachers can do at school. For example:

  • The game “Simon says”.

  • Group activities of mental calculation.

  • Inventing and telling a story in a group: the first student says the first phrase, the second repeats it and invents a second phrase; the third repeats both of them and adds a third phrase (and so on).

  • We can break down tasks into smaller subroutines e.g. learning French words: divide all the words into blocks of 7 words a day.

  • We can ask pupils to repeat back new information, and help them connect it with what they already know.

  • We can teach them how to create and use their own memory aids — like taking notes.

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What is it?

The ability to suppress inappropriate behaviour and ignore irrelevant stimuli or distractions. Inhibition can be conscious or subconscious and helps prevent impulsive actions.


How does it show?
  • Pupils can finish an assignment when other pupils are talking.

  • Pupils can wait for their turn e.g. in a game.

  • Pupils can stop playing when the school bell rings.

  • Pupils can listen to the teacher even when another pupil is talking.

What can we do to stimulate?
  • Giving time to think first before asking a pupil to respond.

  • Using eraseboards in class.

  • First discuss with another pupil and then give an answer.

  • Ask pupils to count to 10 in their head before giving an answer.

  • Using a timer.

  • Playing boardgames and reflecting on it: “How did you manage to wait for your turn?”, "Did you understand all the rules?"…

Image by Anne Nygård
Cognitive flexibility


Cognitive flexibility

What is it?

Cognitive flexibility is being able to adapt or change rules easily in new situations. It is also the skill to quickly and accurately switch between performing two (or more) different tasks.


How does it show?
  • When switching from playing to doing homework.

  • While Addition and subtraction.

  • In a collaboration: understanding the perspective of others.

  • By changing approach if it doesn't work.

  • Example: this video - experiment, 'Switching Day And Night'

In this example the sun = morning and the moon = evening. The student is instructed to say the opposite. When the cards follow each other in quick succession, the pupil gives the answers they know, namely sun = morning, moon = evening. When the pupil is urged by a rhyme ("Think about the answer, don't tell me") to think about the answer first and not to give the answer immediately, they can do it.  The reflection period is an important condition for training cognitive flexibility. 

What can we do to stimulate?
  • Hang calculation rules clearly and visible in the classroom.

  • Show the daily schedule in a weekly schedule.

  • Indicate and visualise this 5 minutes before the end of a task. After that, the transition will be smoother.

  • Use a timer.

Problem solving


Problem solving

What is it?

Problem solving thinking and acting is the ability to acknowledge a problem and come up with a plan to. solve it.


How does it show?
  • Being able to manage a class discussion after a conflict.

  • Sitting in a circle, talking about problem solving.

What can we do to stimulate?
  • Practise using different learning strategies e.g. creating a mind map, query yourself, remake exercises, highlight keywords…

  • Reflection questions (PLAN, DO, CHECK, ACT).

  • After a test, estimate the results.

  • EF games e.g. Monopoly, Jenga, chess, checkers, battleship…

  • Smart games

  • Literature: questions for book discussion.

  • Specific books e.g. Curious George.

  • Miracle question: “What would you do if you…?”

  • Flip it

Flip it is a tool that helps peoples thinking move from a negative position to one where they can act upon something. It is a shift from a ”fixed” to a “growth” mindset.

  • Instead of..., try...:

I can’t do this ->  What do I have to learn?

I’m the best at this -> I’m getting better at this.

I don’t get this at all -> What do I need to understand this better?

I give up -> Let me try it in another way.

This is too hard for me -> It takes time and effort to learn this.

I made too many mistakes -> By making mistakes, I can learn.

I can’t do better than this -> I’ll keep trying.

I will never be as good as you are -> How did you get this done?

This is good enough -> can I do better?

Plan A is not working -> Luckily the alphabet has 25 other letters.

Image by Susan Q Yin
Planning and organisation


Planning and organisation

What is it?

The skills needed for planning the work, making priorities in tasks, estimating time, and organising the work.

How does it show?
  • When making the school bag.

  • When preparing a big task (e.g. book presentation).

  • When making a plan for the week.

  • When organising homework.

  • When making arts or crafts.

  • When playing a board game.

What can we do to stimulate?
  • Splitting a big task into smaller chunks.

  • Using a planner for the school day.

  • Using a timer.

  • Helping pupils estimate the time needed for an assignment.

  • Modelling and making a weekly plan.

  • Hang the plan of the day on the wall.

  • Use reading guides to help prioritise work.

  • Make the school bag together in class.

Image by Laura Ockel
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