SEL Academy Series – SEL VI – Empathetic Communication, Strong Relationships (OST)

Empathy is a social and emotional competency that is often challenging to embody in a context of competing demands, misbehavior and misunderstanding. In this training, participants will learn basic mindfulness tools to deepen listening, enhance verbal and non-verbal communication, and build more positive, win-win relationships.   Participants will also learn to model empathetic communication in different segments of the Afternoon Meeting, and to apply positive instructor language in their program.


Prerequisites:  Foundations in SEL, Afterschool professionals from a PSELI pilot school, Prime Time Registry ID

Session Materials:  Morning Meeting Book, Afternoon Meeting Training Manual


Core Competencies Addressed:

Core Knowledge Area- Child/Youth Growth and Development
1C: Use Developmental Knowledge to Create Healthy, Respectful, Supportive and Challenging Environments

Core Knowledge Area- Interaction with Children/Youth
5C: Promote positive expression, group experiences between adults and children/youth.

Core Knowledge Area- Learning Environment and Curriculum
4C: Design and develop curriculum to support social emotional development. Level 2 and 3

Core Knowledge Area- Community and Family Relationships
5C: Engage families and communities in youth development and learning.

Core Knowledge Area- Professional Development and Leadership
7B: Integrate reflective practices and critical perspectives on performance. Level 2 and 3.


Primary QIS Scales Addressed:

Safe Environment: I-A. Psychological and emotional safety.

Supportive Environment: II-F. Welcoming atmosphere, K. Encouragement.

Interaction: III-M: Sense of belonging, Q. Youth develop positive peer relationships. L. Manage feelings and resolve conflicts.

Engagement: IV-T. Youth opportunities to reflect.

Family: VIII-I. Positive communication with family


Training Objectives:

1.Distinguish between empathy, sympathy, compassion.

2.Explore empathetic, non-violent and positive communication tools to improve interpersonal relationships with diverse cultural/ethnic groups.

3.Apply reinforcing, reminding and redirecting language in various staff-youth scenarios.

4.Practice using restorative questions and circle protocols to build inclusion while dealing with challenges.


Training Outcomes
Participants will:

  1. Increased use of empathetic and nonviolent verbal and nonverbal communication among peers and youth
  2. Use of reinforcing, reminding and redirecting language during every interaction with youth
  3. Increased open-ended questioning and listening for feelings, needs and requests of youth during Afternoon Meeting and other program activities
  4. Increased honest expression in staff-staff and staff-youth interactions