We recently hosted an online session titled “Feeling for Nature: Integrating SEL and Art in Nature Learning” in collaboration with Nature Classrooms. This session explored the connection between Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) and artistic expression, emphasizing their roles in fostering a deeper connection with nature. The goal was to equip participants with creative tools to engage with the natural world by tapping into their emotions.

Nature-SEL Introduction

Priyanka Prakash from Nature Classrooms provided an insightful introduction to Social-Emotional Learning (SEL). She explained how SEL can be integrated into nature education, emphasizing the importance of understanding the emotional and social contexts that influence our connection with nature.

Understanding SEL

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) is a framework that integrates emotional and social development into educational curricula. It focuses on:

  • Attitudes and Behaviors: Understanding how our attitudes, beliefs, and emotions are influenced by social contexts.
  • Holistic Development: Emphasizing the importance of policies, routines, and environments that support the social, emotional, and academic growth of children.
  • Community Involvement: Highlighting the role of parents, caregivers, and the larger community in a child’s development.

Implementing SEL can take several forms:

Nature and SEL

Integrating SEL with nature education has several benefits:

  • Rooted in Social Interactions: Our understanding of nature is deeply influenced by social interactions.
  • Mental Well-Being: Nature has a positive impact on mental health.
  • Subjective Experience: Nature connection is influenced by personal social and emotional experiences.
  • Coping with Climate Change: Addressing issues like ‘Eco Anxiety’ and ‘Eco Grief’ by creating a safe space in schools and nature-education sessions to cope with these feelings.

The session included interactive elements such as polls, prompting participants to reflect on questions like “What do I feel about nature?” and “How does nature affect my emotions?” These activities set the stage for deeper engagement and reflection.

Art-Based SEL Activity

The session concluded with an art activity designed to help participants connect with their emotions and explore their relationship with natural elements in their daily lives. Abhisheka Krishnagopal from Early Bird led the art-based SEL activity. The drawings from this activity highlighted the diverse ways participants perceived and connected with nature, showcasing the power of art in connecting emotionally with nature.

Participants share their artwork and feedback from the session:

I had the pleasure of attending a session on integrating art and SEL organized by early bird last Sunday. It was a compact session defining the role of a nature educator in bringing alternative styles on the table while adhering to the Curriculum frameworks of our country. This particular activity shared by Abhisheka caught my imagination the most.

Titash Chakrabarti

Wonderful insights shared in the webinar about SEL and connecting art with nature education. This really made me curious to know more about the concepts of SEL. I believe that feelings about nature are ingrained in the human psyche. Efforts to reveal it again to the public through nature classrooms will definitely support biodiversity conservation and sustainability on our planet. … The exercise was a nice learning experience.

Nishand Venugopal

Stay tuned for more enriching sessions that blend nature, art, and emotional learning to create a holistic educational experience. Explore other sessions from the Birding Buddies Online Series, available on our YouTube channel.

One Thought on “Using Emotions to Connect with Nature”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *