Benefits of SEL


Parenting with Kimochis and Emotion Coaching
“Kimochis are great because they get children to talk about their more ‘negative’ feelings with other kids and with teachers and parents. Here is a vehicle for coaching children about feelings, which is the royal road to these magic moments for connecting with our children.”
— John Gottman, Ph.D., author Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child and The Gottman Institute


Benefits of SEL and the Kimochis Curriculum for Schools
“Kimochis help to encourage an active concrete discussion about our abstract emotional reactions. We enjoy incorporating them into our daily treatment lessons. They are helpful in encouraging students to better recognize and articulate their own emotional responses as well as to increase their sensitivity to emotions of others.”
— Michelle Garcia Winner, Founder of Social Thinking®

Healthy School Culture and Climate
When used school-wide in each classroom or through school-wide assemblies, the Kimochis program helps schools build a strong, positive, communicative school culture and climate.

  • Researchers suggest that SEL skills and school climate are interdependent. SEL thrives in a positive school environment and facilitates a supportive climate (Zins, Elias, 2006).
  • A safe, orderly school climate is one of several characteristics of schools that consistently show good achievement gains (Redding, 2006).
  • The curriculum provides children, educators and parents a common vocabulary that allows everyone to “speak the same language” bridging school and home.

Positive Behavior Supports (PBS) & Response to Intervention (RTI)
Tier 1 – Universal:
A classroom-based program that promotes social and emotional learning by teaching children the skills to understand their emotions, peacefully communicate feelings to others, develop positive relationships, manage conflicts and challenges, and make and keep friends.

Tier 2 – Prevention: A program to be used in small group settings to focus on specific skills that are especially problematic for students who require extra support. Children can be pre-taught concepts to prepare them for classroom-based intervention.

Tier 3 – Intervention: A program for a small subset of students who need intensive, individualized intervention to master skills (i.e., students with individualized support plans or Individualized Education Plans, IEPs).

Character Education
The Kimochis curriculum can stand-alone or enhance and extend an existing character education program. Kimochis lessons teach children to be:

  • Respectful: Use a respectful voice, face, words and actions; listen to upset feelings
  • Responsible: Speak up for self or others; admit and own mistakes
  • Resilient: Work through emotion alone or with help; bounce back from difficult moments
  • Compassionate and Kind: Have empathy or concern for others; look for moments to be kind to self and others

Prevention and Early Intervention for Bullying
The Kimochis Keys to Communication are innovative communication tools that form the foundation of the curriculum. These Keys teach children to manage emotions that can lead to unkind behavior and/or bullying. By learning to use the Keys, children can communicate in ways that build confidence, self-esteem and strong relationships while reducing hurtful interactions and bullying. Administrators, teachers, parents, and students understand the distinction between “bullying” and normal unkind interactions. The Keys provide a collaborative and effective way to “bully-proof” your school.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse
The use of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs is one of the biggest temptations facing young people. Helping elementary-age students learn how to handle emotions and make smart, safe choices will prepare them for the peer pressure and temptations that lie ahead.

The Kimochis lessons are a proactive tool for the prevention of “at risk” behaviors. Students who feel good about themselves are much less likely to turn to illegal substances for an emotional high. Kimochis can help kids get in touch with reasons to feel good about themselves. The lessons teach strategies for handling upset emotions, which will help prevent students from using substances to numb or block challenging feelings as they get older.

Based on Evidence
Scientific, empirically-based research studies and theories of child development and social-emotional learning were referred to while developing the Kimochis lessons to ensure that concepts and approaches that have proven to have beneficial effects for children were included.

Theoretical models and conceptual paradigms included:

  • Emotional Intelligence (Goleman, 1995; Bar-On, 2000)
  • Social-Information Processing Model (Crick & Dodge, 1994)
  • Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura,1989)
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (Kendall, 2005)

Research has shown that SEL programs that focus on developing five core Social-Emotional Competencies (self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making) provide positive outcomes for students (Collaborative for Academic and Social-Emotional Learning, CASEL, 2003; Blum, 2005).

Research on the Effectiveness of SEL in the Elementary School Years

  • A meta-analysis of 213 school-based, universal social and emotional learning (SEL) programs was completed by Durlak and others (2011). Results revealed improvements in social-emotional skills, attitudes about self and others, pro-social behavior and academic performance with a decrease in conduct problems and emotional distress.
  • Extensive research indicates that mastery of social-emotional competence is associated with greater well-being and school performance, whereas the failure to achieve competence in these areas can lead to personal, social, and academic difficulties. (Eisenberg, 2006; Guerra & Bradshaw, 2008)
  • Social and emotional learning has a positive effect on academic performance, including improved skills and grades in math, language arts, and social studies, and better problem-solving and planning skills, and subject mastery. (Durlak & Weissberg, 2005; Elias et al., 1997; Greenberg et al., 2003; Hawkins, 1999; Wilson et al., 2001; Zins & Elias, 2006; Zins et al., 2004)
  • ‘‘Mental health is a critical component of children’s learning and general health. Fostering social and emotional health in children as a part of healthy child development must therefore be a national priority.’’ (U.S. Public Health Service, 2000, p. 3)

Why the Kimochis Educational Tools Are Different
The focus of the Kimochis Educator’s Toolkit is to teach children to listen, speak and act with others in positive ways that lead to academic and life success. The Keys to Kimochis Communication are a new, innovative communication approach that forms the foundation of the Kimochis program. The Keys to Kimochis Communication teach children how to use their tone of voice, body language and appropriate words when they are in “emotional moments.” The Keys teach children to be respectful in their social interactions; take responsibility for their actions; be resilient and “bounce” back after social challenges; and consider their own emotional needs and those of others. By learning how to use the Keys, children can communicate in ways that support positive behavior and build confidence, self-esteem and strong relationships. Although the Keys to Kimochis Communication seem simple, these powerful, positive strategies help children to problem-solve and make good choices when emotions are high.

The Kimochis Feeling Lessons provide children, educators and parents a common vocabulary that allows everyone to “speak the same language” about feelings and emotions. When everyone understands and uses the same feeling vocabulary, social-emotional learning is consistent and happens more quickly for children. Adults can give prompts using the vocabulary to guide children to do and say the right thing in challenging emotional situations. (For example, “Use your talking voice and face when you ask to play.”) Peers can learn to cue each other using gentle prompts, which builds kindness and compassion.

The unique and compelling Kimochis characters (Bug, Cloud, Huggtopus, Cat, Lovey Dove) and 29 plush Kimochis feeling pillows help children learn how to recognize and manage emotions; learn effective self-regulation skills; express caring, concern, patience, and tolerance for others; establish and maintain positive relationships; and make responsible social decisions. Each character has a specific personality that teaches children social-emotional skills. For example, Cloud is the mood-regulating Kimochis who helps children learn to predict, plan, and practice using a tone of voice, face and words that will maintain a positive connection when upset. Each character has a pouch where the plush feelings can be tucked to show what the character is feeling at the moment. Lessons built around the characters and feelings are fun, interactive, and engaging to preschool and elementary children.

The goals of the Kimochis program illustrate the important social–emotional outcomes for children.

They are:

  1. Self-Awareness: Know what we are feeling; have a realistic assessment of our own abilities; have a well-grounded sense of self-confidence
  • To recognize feelings of happiness, anger, sadness, pride, courage, frustration, crankiness, silliness,
    curiosity, hopefulness and courage in self
  • To understand how you are coming across
  • To know what you can say and do when feeling upset that can make a problem bigger or smaller
  • To know when you need to ask for peer or adult help
  1. Social Awareness: Understand what others are feeling; be able to take their perspective; appreciate and interact positively with diverse groups
  • To become aware of words and actions that can create negative feelings
  • To recognize when others are feeling mad, frustrated, cranky and other upset feelings and not
    take their words personally
  • To respect others’ personal and space boundaries
  • To practice patience and honor other’s differences and short comings
  1. Self-Management: Handle our emotions so they facilitate rather than interfere; be conscientious and delay gratification to pursue goals; persevere in the face of setbacks
  • To use a talking tone of voice and face (positive nonverbal communication)
  • To use positive self-talk to handle negative feelings
  • To cool down when experiencing upset feelings (like mad or cranky) and keep a positive
    connection with others
  • To be resilient when experiencing upset feelings
  • To stay focused and not get distracted by others
  • To express and experience happy, excited, silly, and curious feelings without making unsafe
  1. Relationship Skills: Handle emotions in relationships effectively; establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships based on cooperation; resist inappropriate social pressure; negotiate solutions to conflict, and seek help when needed
  • To choose words that are helpful, not hurtful
  • To seek to be inclusive and get oneself included
  • To do the right thing when others do the wrong thing
  • To apologize and forgive
  • To assume the best in social interactions
  • To recognize when others feel frustrated, mad, sad or left out and offer support
  • To act in kind, compassionate ways when others are sad, frustrated, left out, mad
  • To be assertive to stand up for self and others
  • To re-do hurtful moments and recover after making mistakes
  • To listen and connect with another’s pride in a positive way
  1. Responsible Decision-Making: Make decisions based on an accurate consideration of all relevant factors and the likely consequences of alternative courses of action, respect others, and take responsibility for one’s decisions
  • To be kind and let others try again
  • To respect others’ feelings of fear, sadness, etc
  • To make sure silliness is fun for everyone
  • To know when and how to get adult help

Benefits of SEL