ATL Skills & Social Emotional Learning in the IB PYP

The IB PYP Approaches to Learning Skills present opportunity for a complete social emotional learning experience which we design to accommodate the needs of our elementary learners. With a whole child approach, our programme connects the ATL skills with the attributes of our Learner Profile and ensures that the fundamental needs of being human are as important as the academic. Consider how the attributes of our Learner Profile fit within the whole child.

Consider how the attributes of a learner fit within the whole child.[/caption] In our goal to develop well-rounded, self-directed thinkers & inquirers, we have an entire programme of inquiry that we design to provide explicit lessons and learning experiences to teach critical SEL skills that the children can transfer across the entire year.
Within the IB PYP Social skills and Self-management Skills, our transdisciplinary approach enables lessons and activities targeting skills for understanding emotions, building confidence, developing self-control, managing peer relations, improving decision-making, becoming an autonomous learner and so much more. This article will share some strategies and teaching tools that support the development of those Social and Emotional sub-skills that fall within the IB PYP Approaches to the Learning Skills


What is Social Emotional Learning?

Social emotional learning, also known as SEL, is the process for acquiring social and emotional skills for everyday success. These skills include:
  • understanding ourselves and our abilities
  • developing empathy for others
  • practicing self-control
  • maintaining positive relationships
  •  making positive choices
  • developing goals and much more.
Fundamentally, social emotional learning skills are life skills. These are the tools that our learners need in the classroom, at home, with friends, in future relationships and beyond.

Why is teaching SEL important?

Social and emotional learning helps teach skills that kids need to be successful. Having a foundation focused on social emotional learning supports a safe and positive learning environment where all students feel free to share their voices, accept challenges, take risks, and work towards finding their individual path to success.
Targeting the skills within self management and social skills, this bundle offers collaborative activities to develop these crucial skills.


Why PYP Teaching Tools?

The lessons and activities are designed specifically for learners of all levels and abilities to learn, use, discuss, and generalise the social and emotional skills they need. The idea is simple: We want our students to find their individual path to success! They need to be able to understand themselves, recognise their strengths, be able to work through their challenges, enjoy the benefits of positive relationships and be the best they can be. Learners need strategies to manage their emotions, advocate for themselves, and make positive decisions throughout their lives. Through learning these skills, our students can work towards their unique potential. IBPYP LEARNER PROFILE MINDFULNESS Embracing mindfulness as a whole through positive affirmations & the Learner Profile


Where to Begin?

The lessons and activities in this bundle are designed specifically for our IB PYP learners of all levels and abilities to learn, use, discuss, and generalise the social and emotional skills they need. With a mixture of the Approaches to Learning Social and Self Management skills, there is a perfect blend of learning experiences to develop and enhance skills for social emotional learning. You can find tools to suit all ages and mostly grades 3-5.
These activities bring an implicit awareness to the children of strategies to manage their emotions, develop interpersonal relationships, advocate for themselves, and make positive decisions throughout their lives. Through learning these skills, kids and young adults can work towards their individual potentials.
Where to Begin? This bundle targets the five core areas of social emotional learning: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationships, and decision-making. Each learning experience presents the skills in a meaningful, fun, and memorable way for learners.
  • Understanding strengths and challenges
  • Building confidence
  • Emotional awareness
  • Developing good character
  • Embracing a growth mindset
  • Using positive thinking skills
  • Considering dreams for the future
Social Skills Task Cards: Social & Emotional Intelligence & Interpersonal Relationships
Encourage a growth mindset by helping children to think positively, be flexible and provide them with problem-solving strategies and solutions that help them to cope with the myriad of situations and emotions that life presents, with these fun task cards. These are designed to be used in collaboration with a partner or small group but can equally be successful as individual reflections.
You can find explicit skills task cards here: Social Skills Task Cards
And fun drama circle & readers' theatre activities here that lend themselves to understanding social skills.
For example:
Developing collaborative discussions, problem solving with open ended situations.
OPERATION COLLABORATION! These collaborative research projects for all ages are fun to bring the skills into practice too:
  • Becoming socially aware 
  • Kg- Grade 2: Create your own posters through group work.
  • Being aware of their role in a group
  • Using strategies to actively resolve conflict
  • Practising compromise & delegation
Collaborative Research Projects

Self Management: Organisation & States of Mind

Children are asked to reflect on situations that present doubt, possible antagonism, confidence issues and other difficulties. As you help the children with these self-management skills in a safe, familiar environment, it will greatly benefit them throughout school and particularly as they approach the IB PYP Exhibition.
You know how much I love drama as a means of bringing the ATL Skills to life! This drama circle is a great growth mindset activity.
Learner Profile Reflection Journal: Self awareness, Being Reflective Introduce a routine of reflection in our early years IB PYP learners with these hands-on learning experiences. Developing reflective thinking skills is crucial when you have on-going reflection, and you want it to be an authentic student -led experience.
These IB Learner Profile Reflection Journals are designed as a review of the Learner Profile attributes as well as reinforcing the skills for reflective thinking. With activities that can be used as a daily reflection for a six week intensive focus on reflection of their Learner Profile, or you can use them once a week, throughout the entire year, as a weekly reflection of each particular attribute. Encourage reflective thinking and self-awareness through the routine of reflection with a reflection journal. Reflection Journal for big kids.
2 x Drama Circles: Making Friends & No Bullying In Our School Drama circles that develop social emotional learning
Self-Awareness, Interpersonal Relationships, Advocating for Self & Others Drama circles! The theme is around community building, what it takes to form friendships and bringing forth our voice. It has a lot of reflection as well as humour included :) Lots of laughter with these IB PYP sets. They bring out the risk taking, creativity in all kids.

Self Awareness for the Little Ones: Early Years Activities

We can absolutely begin with our youngest learners as we connect the language of the Learner Profile with learning activities that instill that sense of self. As the children learn what each of the attributes LOOK-SOUND-FEEL-ACT like, they are building their own awareness of who they are and where they fit with each of the attributes.

IBPYP EARLY YEARS SOCIAL EMOTIONAL AWARENESS Developing awareness of self through IB PYP Learner Profile
100 Acts of Kindness Challenge: Mindfulness, Reflection, Being Caring
This resource provides the tools to implement an idea that has been going around for quite a few years. 100 Acts of Kindness is a classroom challenge that brings a great awareness into the children’s minds, that it is absolutely wonderful to share caring and love. As the compliments are handed out and the kindness coupons are added to our wall, we can see exactly how much love we bring into the lives of others and, in turn, into our own. The children are able to see, by sharing, that when we show love to others, we feel the love within ourselves.
ONE KIND WORD CHALLENGE: BEING CARING, EMPATHY, AWARENESS OF OTHERS The challenge you see below began as we explored the sub-skill of demonstrating awareness of others under Social Skills - Social & Emotional Intelligence during Anti-Bullying week. It grew into showing how we could be caring and so the children " collected" words that would speak of kindness and promote our mission of speaking up for others as we moved into the skill of advocating for self and others. It is easy to create your own and allow the kids to see how far their ONE kind word can spread. 
anti bullying week social skills one kind word challenge Anti bullying week led us to taking action with One Kind Word A classroom challenge sharing kindness as we created a compliments wall. Our 100 Acts of Kindness wall.
Hopefully, you can find some ideas and inspiration for bringing the skills within Social-Emotional learning into practice. You can find many more activities to support development of ALL of the ATL Skills in these bundles catering for both upper and lower grades.
Find me on Instagram @PYPteaching


50% Complete

Be sure to subscribe to for practical strategies, hands on ideas and classroom ready tools for your inquiry-based classroom.