Acceptance and Commitment Training (ACT)
It’s never too early to discuss emotions and mental health; social-emotional learning (SEL) is crucial to these conversations.
We know that mental health conditions, such as anxiety, trauma, and depression, can significantly impact a student's learning, attendance, grades, and behavior. Countless scientific empirical studies advocate for helping students adopt a “more thoughtful and discerning approach to life by incorporating SEL into the classroom environment.” They urge us to weave SEL concepts and conversation into daily routines, the academic curriculum, and/or to utilize purpose-written SEL curricula, such as Accept Identify Move (AIM) - a blend of mindfulness practices, Applied Behavior Analysis, and ACT.
ACT's focus is to help cultivate psychological flexibility. A set of SEL skills that allow us to engage and live more fully in the present moment. To learn to embrace life, even the messy and complicated times, with self-compassion and kindness.
While ACT in a therapy setting, practiced by licensed professionals, can be more complex, the basic philosophies and processes are straightforward. Used in a more flexible, principle-driven way, Acceptance and Commitment Training can provide a framework for building a classroom culture where learners and educators feel like they belong and develop an understanding of who they are. A place to be comfortable connecting with feelings and emotions, where it is safe to try new things, make choices - and make mistakes. Where students learn that although decisions can be influenced by a complex matrix of forces, we are in control of our actions.
Lotus Flowers and Superpowers uses child-friendly language to introduce ACT's six core processes and weaves them into Fry's adventurous journey. The characters use well-known ACT and mindfulness techniques to help navigate unexpected challenges in a changing environment and their own thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
"Fry and Flex learn that unhooking from painful or challenging thoughts, feelings, and emotions can make life a little easier... bringing their attention to what is happening here and now can help. And by choosing actions that take them closer to whom they want to be, the things they care about, and how the two fish want their life journey to unfold, they are happier".