“I’m so glad you’re here!”
“Hey, I like the dog on your shirt.”
“It’s great to see you today.”
What are your favorite ways to establish an inclusive and welcoming tone from the moment a child or teen walks into your program? It only takes a few seconds, yet making a point to greet each young person as they enter helps them start feeling comfortable from the start.
The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)’s new SEL 3 Signature Practices Playbook talks about how this type of “Micro” practice can demonstrate care and inclusion in a very short amount of time.
CASEL defines Micro Signature Practices as the small but powerful moments in our day that only take a few seconds or minutes of effort. Micro practices use the same framework as CASEL’s three signature practices:
1. Welcoming Activities – Use inclusive greetings with eye contact, a smile or neutral facial expression, and a quick greeting. “It’s nice to see you!”
2. Engaging Practices – Demonstrate engagement even when time is tight with a non-verbal nod or pause in activity or verbal inquiry about their day. Non-verbal could be a fist bump or a high five. “How is your day going?”
3. Optimistic Closure – End encounter on an optimistic, appreciative note. “See you later!” “Thank you.”
I know you may be thinking, “I’m a friendly person so I do all of this naturally anyway!” CASEL’s point is that making these interactions intentional and consistent can do more to support a welcoming and inclusive environment.
Not surprisingly, these Micro practices are helpful in maintaining a positive workplace culture as well. The CASEL Playbook states that when Micro practices are “done authentically and systematically throughout a work environment, they can help create and grow a culture of positive and productive relationships that are the foundation of learning, teaching, and leading” (page 60).
CASEL’s new SEL 3 Signature Practices Playbook offers extensive information and examples of the 3 signature practices for youth and adults. Check it out!
For breakfast, I had a cup of coffee, an English muffin, and grapes.