We are counting one year since the world went into lockdown due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. For a long time now in Lithuania, as in many European countries, the process of teaching has been moved to a distance, and keeping the attention of primary school children. Keeping the attention of beginners in such conditions, as well as developing and nurturing social skills and interpersonal communication, is becoming an increasing and obvious challenge for many teachers.

The international PSsmile ( project aims to contribute to the development of socio-emotional skills in primary education by involving all members of the community: teachers, parents, children. We are very pleased that more and more educational institutions are joining the project, willing to share their good practises with others and become more actively involved in activities.

To address the aforementioned challenges, on the 15th of March, 2021, together with the Pssmile project’s partner - VšĮ „Mano šeimos akademija“, we organised a seminar “Social and Emotional Skills Development. Sharing of Good Practise”. During the seminar, the PSsmile project’s associate partners – 5 teachers from Raseiniai Šaltinis progymnasium – shared their experience. They presented their practices, methods and tools they used before and during the quarantine, they also shared how they have transferred them to distance learning and the benefits of developing socio-emotional skills.

The first presenter was Beata Vaičekauskienė, social pedagogue - methodologist, who made a presentation “The child – creator of socio-emotional learning (SEL) activities”. The need to involve children in the development and organization of activities arose from the search for new forms of activities, knowing that active involvement leads to better assimilation of knowledge and the information provided by peers is more relevant and clearer. Beata presented how children of different ages created, led and contributed in another way to the organisation of integrated lessons, activities of tolerance day, a lesson for pre-school children and other activities during the quarantine.

Raimonda Latvienė, primary school teacher- methodologist presented the benefits of the friendly SEL Olympiad “Dramblys” for teachers, students and parents. The teacher playfully presented the daily routine of a teacher when it comes to completing the activities of the class hour, solving everyday situations and how for 4 years now not only her pupils but also the whole school and the whole community have been looking forward to this event, where everyone is a winner. Raimonda concluded the presentation with a few games that raise children‘s self-esteem, foster courage and creativity, and allow them to get to know themselves and others and their emotions.

Regina Kalpokienė, a primary school teacher - methodologist, presented the possibilities of using the SEL tool “Emometras” (emotions meter) – a poster she uses and which hangs in the classroom and thus helped kids to know and to learn as well to reflect on one’s own emotions, and her experience of how to carry out short and long reflective activities in the classroom (flashcards, spinning off the emotion circle etc.)

Jolita Marcinkienė, a primary school teacher - methodologist, presented “SEL through procedural creativity in non-formal education activities”. The presentation was full of children’s emotions, moments from creative activities, the result of which is only a side benefit. The children in the extracurricular activities of the methodologist teacher relax, vent their emotions, concentrate on the process, are not afraid to make mistakes, develop their self-esteem, less and less questioning whether they are doing the right thing, but simply testing themselves, the materials, tools that are provided that day. As she said, “ The most important part of the creative process is how children feel when creating .”

Kristina Vileišienė, an English primary school teacher-methodologist shared her experience and good practice on creating role-play situations to resolve conflicts and challenges in early adolescence. The teacher started by saying that “The whole school environment is an emotion, the way the environment is the way the child feel”, and the key messages that are important in dealing with conflict situations in the classroom. The method was presented in detail and with concrete examples, showing the benefits and the impact of the method, such as the improved classroom atmosphere and the common agreements with all teachers, children and parents.

70 participants from all over Lithuania gathered for the virtual good practice sharing seminar.. The number of participants (teachers, school administration members, parents) already showed the relevance of the topic, and the fact that this number of participants remained until the end of the seminar showed the importance and interest of the content of the presentations.

Thank you all for your time, and to the lecturers for their knowledge and sincere willingness to SHARE.