Bringing Social-Emotional Learning into the Home

Child and Mum sitting on the step

What is social-emotional learning?

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines social-emotional learning (SEL) as:

“… the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.” read more

Better Hearing and Speech Month


May is “Better Hearing and Speech Month”, an annual awareness campaign organised by ASHA.

Learning Resources provide an array of communication resources designed to build confidence in early vocabulary and oral language skills. In order to raise awareness of this campaign and its goals, we’ve teamed up with Belinda Robertson, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist at Hitchin Speech Therapy, to ask some key questions about communication and social development in young learners.




Belinda is a qualified Speech and Language Therapist who has had an extensive and enjoyable 32 years working with children of all ages and personalities, in a wide range of different locations and establishments.

She has been an SLT manager in the NHS, tutored nursing students, a community governor of an ‘outstanding’ nursery school, is a mother herself and now works in her own private Speech and Language Therapy practice (
She has a huge wealth of experience working with children with many different speech and language difficulties and special needs; including autism, Downs Syndrome, stammering, feeding & swallowing difficulties, dyspraxia, learning difficulties, voice problems, brain injury and cerebral palsy.

At ‘Hitchin Speech Therapy’ she feels extremely lucky to work with children of all different ages and therefore with a huge range of toys and resources on a daily basis! =&2=&


How can parents and childminders support their children’s verbal communication at home?


  • Look at books together, sing songs and traditional rhymes, stacking toys to develop turn-taking, hand and action rhymes. No screen time/media for under 2’s is often recommended by many paediatricians


  • Play, play, play! Remember you are your child’s favourite plaything/toy!
  • Get down to your child’s level – play and talk so they can really see your face.
  • More books, more songs, more action songs & rhymes, more traditional nursery rhymes. Their benefit for speech and language development cannot be stressed enough.
  • Turn-taking puzzles and games– COMMUNICATION is all about verbal turn taking.
  • Play what we call ‘The Child’s Game’ where you follow your child’s lead and not your own agenda.
  • Turn off the T. V, media and iPad/iPhone…limit it to national guidelines.
  • Develop your child’s understanding of letters and sounds by teaching them both the letter as in ‘g’ (gee) and the phonic sound ‘g’.
  • Support your child’s language by remembering the ‘Rule of hand’ = make 4 comments (fingers) to one question (thumb). Your child is more likely to continue and develop a conversation this way than just answering your yes/no QUESTION.

What style of game would you recommend to support children’s social development?

  • Peek-a-boo, row-row-row-the-boat – action songs and rhymes
  • I-spy type games
  • Verbal turn-taking of any sort
  • Remember to ‘role-reverse’ when playing games so that your child becomes ‘the teacher’!
  • Develop the rules of turn-taking from quite early on. You can do this with siblings, family members and friends. Eg: ball rolling to each other, putting pieces in a puzzle or putting the next brick on a tower.
  • Ready, steady…go games! Always a winner!
  • A Speech and Language Therapist is never seen without her bubbles – great for getting social skills and interaction going.