Prioritizing Social-Emotional Learning in Our Second COVID-19 Summer

When the COVID-19 pandemic reached Dallas last spring, its effects were immediate and unprecedented. As schools scrambled to shift to remote models, out of school time providers made plans to do the same. The result was a summer packed with innovative virtual programming and organizational pivots that looked unlike anything we’d seen before. 

This year, there are still questions surrounding what the summer will look like. In some instances, in-person camps and activities will return; others will remain online only or shift to a hybrid model. 

But no matter which option your family chooses, these opportunities are important ways to continue embracing social-emotional learning throughout the summer. Out-of-school-time (OST) activities can also help fight the summer slide and COVID-related learning loss. 

What programming is available?

No matter whether you’re looking for art-focused activities or STEM programming, in-person events or virtual opportunities, there are plenty of options available around Dallas. 

Here are several places to get started when searching for summer fun:

  • Dallas Afterschool: Our partner Dallas Afterschool is a great resource for finding afterschool programs for summer and throughout the year. You can search based on grade level, interest, and location. 
  • Dallas Parks & Recreation: SEL Dallas partner Dallas Parks & Recreation offers in-person and Rec @ Home programs during the summer. Along with opportunities to get active, these activities can promote social skills like building relationships and help youth boost their confidence and work together as a team. 
  • Dallas City of Learning: DCoL is a vast resource that can help you find summer activities of all kinds. You can sort by topic and interest — including SEL-focused activities! — and the majority of the available programming is free or low-cost for participants. 
  • Smart Summer Reading Program: Reading can be a great way to promote SEL skills and stay prepared for the school year in the fall.  Sponsored by Friends of the Dallas Public Library, Smart Summer With Mayor Johnson is a fun, easy-to-join program. Youth read throughout the summer, earning badges and prizes while doing so. The program began June 4 and will run through August 14.

How can families practice SEL at home?

Summer activities can make for action-packed days and weekends, but during downtime at home, families can continue to encourage SEL skills and best practices. Studies have shown that social-emotional learning is most successful when it’s implemented across all spaces, and the summer is a valuable time to do so at home. 

Looking for ways to foster family engagement and build SEL skills at home? Check out these resources:

  • Dallas ISD Social and Emotional Department: Dallas ISD’s SEL Department has a website dedicated to providing parents and caregivers with SEL-focused resources. Whether it’s setting up a calming area or using a mood meter, there are a variety of easy-to-use tools available. 
  • Confident Parents, Confident Kids: This website offers a wealth of resources and information aimed at parents and youth alike. 
  • SEL for Parents: This video from CASEL provides an overview of social-emotional learning and gives insight into practices that parents can implement at home. 

We hope everyone finishes the school year strong and has a fun, safe summer! And we hope you’ll stay connected with SEL Dallas through our
Facebook and Instagram pages.