It has been such a pleasure to collaborate with you over the past few months. You are Educational Warriors. Your passion, strength, ingenuity and resilience overwhelms me. I’m beyond grateful to work for Commissioner Makin who clearly supports and honors the emotional wellbeing of our Maine educators and support staffs. When I accepted this position as the first SEL specialist for the Maine DOE in January 2020, I could never have foreseen that in just 10 short weeks, Maine educators would be faced with such sadness, grief and concern for their students and the world.
Our morning mindful practices and the work that hundreds of you have put in over the past three months to learn and grow in all things social/emotional is greatly appreciated. For many of you the school year is over, but the work has not stopped. Preparations for school re-entry and how this will look is on everyone’s mind. Please remember to take small moments to be present in your life. Listen to the birds, feel the sun warm your face, smell the freshly cut grass and BREATHE ON PURPOSE.
Breathing is our first life gift and our birthright. Breathe for yourselves and for one another. Give yourself permission to step outside of the automaticity of an unaware existence and spend a few moments in gratitude and hope. We will get through this together and we will begin the important work of building a new reality in education with a solid foundation of love, compassion, equity and understanding. Our children deserve for us to be at our emotional and physical best so we can continue the work of teaching courageously and compassionately and growing good humans.
Urban Assembly and SEL4US encourage educators around the World to recognize the importance of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) on this International SEL Day.
Kellie D. Bailey MA CCC-SLP, MMT/SELI began her work here at the Maine DOE on Feburary 6, 2020 to support Commissioner Makin’s educational platform for putting the social emotional learning needs first for all Maine students. Commissioner Makin knows first hand that when we teach from the heart we are truly seeing each child and paying attention on purpose to the unique being that he or she is.
SEL is the most effective way of building strong and meaningful connections which ultimately leads to optimal learning. Until the outbreak of COVID 19, Kellie worked in the field providing SEL supports across the State of Maine. Today she continues to do so remotely providing Brain Based SEL supports with her colleague Bear Shea first thing in the morning and the last thing in the afternoon. “SEL is for all human beings. Our educators and school support staff are facing unprecedented times and they are feeling the effects of not being able to connect with their students and colleagues. There is an overwhelming sense of urgency for the well being of our students, staff and community. Now more than ever it is critically important to check in with ourselves and ask the question, How Am I Doing Right This Minute? Staying tuned into our own anxiety and taking the important steps to center and ground ourselves is the most effective way to stay resilient for our students who are counting on us to send the message that they are safe.
Kellie reminds everyone involved with education to take moments to self reflect and check in with the self. Recognition of how one feels and where that feeling lives in the body, heart and mind is the first step in development of our own social intelligence. Kellie adds that “Moving away from the automaticity of our lives and becoming present for small moments will make a tremendous difference in how we cope with the stressors related to COVID 19 and life in general. Practicing being present and noticing basic needs and taking care to provide ourselves with those needs allows us to continue to be present for others with a deeper connection. On this first International SEL Day, may we each feel safe, connected, safe and loved and take a few small moments to Breathe on Purpose.”