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It’s 2023, and a month has gone by already with many resolutions being broken, some barely making it to reality and some more just being a mere idea and nothing else. As February steps in no one needs a reminder of what the month signifies. Everyone talks about roses, chocolates, romantic dates, crushes and finding a partner to celebrate the special day with but when do we realize that more than all of that one needs to enjoy his own company, go on dates by themselves and most importantly love oneself first.Jean-Jacques Rousseau talks about ‘Amour de soi’ a concept in his philosophy that translates to Self-love i.e one's feelings for himself, without any care or concerns about how he is perceived by others. As humans it is quite natural to seek love from others but are we really ready to accept another human into our lives when we have failed to make efforts to understand and accept ourselves first, to completely let go of inhibitions and embrace our faults and flaws?. We want to be loved, accepted, understood and cared for by others but completely fail to do that with ourselves. Although the concept of self-love is becoming more relevant since the past few years, there is a large group of people who still do not know how to love themselves. It takes small steps, few minor changes and a large accepting heart to embrace ourselves the way we are. Let us start by doing things that makes us happy, stop worrying about others opinions of us or our choices, allowing ourselves to make mistakes, letting go of our stupid errors and  stale past, not setting up high standards for ourselves by comparing with others, accepting our body, skin tone and being comfortable the way we are, putting ourselves first in every situation, enjoying the pain and joy and the process that got us there and finally by not being afraid to let go of toxic people and relationships, no matter how close they are.Thus, we always need to remember that we are our first friend, trusting ourselves to make the choice that suits us the best and to always be kind to ourselves. Don’t wait for others to pat your back, to see how good you are and what you are capable of! Instead go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back, celebrate when you achieve a new height, take yourself on a fancy date, go on that solo trip you’ve been desiring to go for years and mostly stop thinking about what will “THEY” say? Only then will we be able to accept us with all our shortcomings and still love ourselves to the fullest because as Rupi Kaur says “How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you”.Contributed by Clarin Simon BrownMental Health Practitioner, Carpediem EdPsych Consultancy LLP

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Music needs no introduction or explanation for its use in therapy, but musical experience does. It is the experience that music creates that is therapeutic for the mind and body. It is important to understand the basics of how music is used as therapy in its capacity to be inclusive, integrative and responsive to deal with physio-psycho-socio-educational issues of day-to-day life.Music Therapy in Holistic HealthcareIn a holistic approach towards health, our physical and emotional well-being are conceived as intertwined. The distress caused by emotional factors is always linked with a chemical imbalance in the brain and body. Medication is a way to treat the condition of neurochemical imbalance. However, its side effects on many occasions are difficult to rule out. Music therapy as an allied healthcare practice can act as an agent to intrinsically stabilize or change the mood and emotion causing distress to the body.A young man of early 20s who had been admitted in a palliative care unit of a renowned hospital in a city in India for his last phase of treatment and care, shared his experience of music therapy in an introspective report as “music therapy helped me to adapt with the disease, taught me to prioritize spiritual dimension of life, it soothed me, helped me to develop the realization…when nobody around, I have my music… I am ready to accept the inevitable.”Music Therapy- What does it serve?There are several misconceptions about the practice of music therapy. First of all, the client doesn’t need to have musical ability to benefit from music therapy. There is a difference between traditional music-based healing and music as therapy, which is a multidisciplinary field of allied health science. It refers to the clinical and evidenced-based practise of music as a medium of therapeutic intervention by a trained and certified professional music therapist. Music or its elements are implemented through carefully designed therapeutic techniques to give a therapeutically appropriate experience within an evolving relationship between client and therapist. The process in clinical context includes the stages of assessment, intervention and evaluation with clearly stated individualized therapeutic goals and objectives.Music therapy as an approach is integrative and inclusive in the context of health care, can get involved in interdisciplinary treatment planning, evaluations and follow up. It is often used to support or facilitate the process and outcomes of other therapies like speech therapy, occupational therapy, special education etc. Because of the flexibility and adaptability of music as a medium of communication in therapy, it easily gains the attention and acceptance of clients. In children, the unique music experience in an intentional and developmentally appropriate manner brings change to the behaviour, facilitates developmental skills and enhances the quality of life of the child and family.The other creative modalities, like dance and movements, arts, storytelling, role play, etc., are often integrated within the domain of music therapy practice, facilitate multisensory experiences. Music in the form of responsive therapy- medically, psychologically and socio-culturally, structured and adapted through musical elements, helps to build and strengthen the mutually responsive connection between therapist and client.Effects of Music Therapy on ChildrenIn my experience of practicing music therapy with children with special needs- music gives personal direct access to their World, facilitates unconditional acceptance by children, helps to form emotional bonding and secure attachment faster than any other medium. The overall positivity associated with the process of music-making in therapy accelerates the achievement of therapeutic goals and objectives.Often received comments from parents like -“my child waits for this session through the week” “my child is better adjusted in school.”“my child’s mathematical ability has increased after joining music therapy.” “There are lots of changes in mood and behaviour that helped my child to adjust with other therapies.”“ Music helped me to get involved more with the interventions that my son is going through..… I feel much secure now.” “I observe an overall positive change in my daughter in all aspects…I think it is due to the effects of music.”  Advantages of Music TherapySome of the unique features and advantages of music therapy for children suffering from any disability or emotional or behavioural problems includeEnhances imagination and creativity by giving space for creative self-expression at their level.Gives multisensory experiences as the brain as a whole receives and responds to music.Gives stability to gross and fine motor movements; body posture and balance.Encourages flexibility of thoughts and behaviours.Facilitates verbal and non-verbal communication skills in a unique manner.Develops awareness of the environment in a unique manner.Teaches utilization of space in social interaction.Indulges freedom as well as a sense of security in a musical context.Helps to develop emotional regulation.Helps to develop self-regulation.Boosts self-esteem.The melody and rhythm of music bind the child- therapist, child- family, child- peers through uniquely created musical experiences.Explores the cause behind a clinical symptom in a psychosocial context.Safely be used with children for the diagnosis of a problem.Music has no side effects! Directly linked to overall enhancement and upliftment of life and related conditions.The positive impact of music in people  lives encompassing a wide range of conditions and circumstances are well documented through research evidence.Music Therapy is a lot more than relaxation…. Music therapy functions at three levels- restoration, maintenance and improvement of physical and mental health. The therapeutic properties and applications of music can do much more than what we believe or simply associate with relaxation or unwinding emotions. Music therapy practice can be employed and integrated at a variety of places, including psychiatric hospitals, rehabilitation centres, medical hospitals, outpatient clinics, day care treatment centres, agencies serving developmentally disabled persons, community mental health centres, drug and alcohol programs, old age homes, nursing homes, hospice programs, correctional facilities, halfway houses, schools, and even in private practices.

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Apart from the home atmosphere, a child is deeply shaped by the school experience. The teachers who form the core of their growing years leave an indelible mark on them, the memories they carry with them throughout life's journey. For this reason, parents and teachers need to work in tandem to ensure that the home is an extension of the practices and values imbibed in the classroom and vice-versa the only way to do that is for parents and teachers to communicate honestly and effectively. Children, even during the early years, are keen observers, and when they realize that their parents and teachers are communicating, they understand that everyone has their best interests in mind.  Parent-Teacher Communication-What is it?As a teacher, headmistress and parent myself, I have realized that communication serves as a bridge that helps develop a relationship that begins at the beginning of a school year and stays until the child moves to the next grade. Opportunities for parent and teacher communication can occur in person during the Parent-Teacher Meeting, events at school or even during pick up and drop off - especially in the Early Years scenario. Apart from this, teachers and parents can also reach out to each other via phone or email. Benefits of Effective Communication:For Parents:Anxiety and fear are words synonymous with children and parents, especially in early childhood development. The reason being that it is the first time children are stepping out of their comfort zone, and parents are slowly trying to come to terms with this transition. Regular and effective communication with the teacher at this juncture will help put your mind at ease and guide you to understand your child's developmental milestones, strengths and areas that need further development.For Teachers:At the beginning of each academic year, teachers too have their apprehensions and fears, and the first meeting with the parents helps build a bridge to remove them. The bond with parents helps create a learning environment where trust is nurtured, and both parents and teachers work together to focus on the child's well-being in their care. Tips for Parent-Teacher Communication – Important Strategies:Today, communication is possible through so many mediums, so it is good to review what worked for you and then add other new methods to the already existing ones to get a 360-degree communication model in place. For me personally, here are a few tips that worked wonders in reducing anxiety and creating an atmosphere of mutual respect and appreciation between the parents and the team. I believe that they will certainly help you too!Quick Daily Interactions: Children in the early years still comprehend the world around them and may not be able to put their thoughts into words coherently. Thus, quick interactions during pick up and drop are a good way to exchange verbal notes about the child's day. Diary Notes: If anything important is to be communicated, parents and teachers can also use the school diary to share notes. Both parties must make it a practice to check the diary daily and acknowledge the communication. Parent-Teacher Meetings: Usually scheduled once a month, a parent-teacher meeting is a good platform to discuss the child's progress. Being honest and respectful to each other and listening to understand the other person's perceptive with helpful in the brainstorming session and serve to create specific goals with definite timelines that will hasten progress. Phone Calls and Emails: In some cases, both the above scenarios may not work for parents because of their busy schedules. So here, a phone call or an email will help the teacher and parents connect. After the phone call, brief, simple discussions and documentation will serve as a reference for both parents and teachers! Very much like verbal communication, it is important to think before putting words together, as the message in the email will be decoded as per the reader's mood. Thus, parents and teachers are advised to proofread the document and check for any underlying tones before pressing the send button.Text Messages: Reminders for important events can be sent through text messages with clear details of the time, date and expectations. Parents can either RSVP using the same medium or send an email with the confirmation. Newsletters: This form of communication is welcomed with open arms by parents. They get a glimpse of the activities conducted and see how much their child enjoyed participating in the same. A monthly or quarterly newsletter with photographs and a crisp note documenting the event works to further strengthen the connection. Parents and teachers shape a child's learning experience, and perfect communication is the key to a stronger foundation! These tips are meant to guide you on this journey and are coupled with kind words. There is no way that you, as parents and teachers, can go wrong in shaping the lives of the children entrusted to you. Guest Blog - Contributed by Rachna B. GuptaKnow more about her in our consultant's section.

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Sounds great, doesn’t it? I remember the days when I looked up to WFH as a luxury and envied it. I believed one was productive by staying and working out of one’s comfort zone. However, this thought has changed completely with the lockdown scenario added. Moreover, I hear clients raising issues with the Pandemic - WFH arrangement. The concerns spelt often and the strategies worth giving a try:I am not able to draw boundaries between home and work. It’s both all day flowing into each other. Strategy -        While structuring your schedule in a the way that you have enough breaks to manage other work in between may not be possible all the time. -        Do not get into multi-tasking the office work with a household chore. This leads to divided attention and most of the time results in spending double the work to get the tasks done. -        Try changing schedules for what is in your control rather than trying to change it all at once.We end up arguing rather than spending quality timeStrategy -        Arguments happen when people do not agree with the other. Communication is the key. While everyone is put into erratic work timings since WFH began to try negotiating with work timings once in a while. -        Make them understand that there are family priorities as well that cannot be compromised with work every time. Learn to say ‘NO’ when it is absolutely difficult to manage work. -        Divide the house chores among the family members. Try shifting certain chores to weekends rather than squeezing them on the weekdays. -        Quality time is not just spending free time together, sometimes sharing a task and doing it together can turn into quality time as well. We are disturbed with each other’s work approaches Strategy-        The ones who are able to work in dedicated physical spaces within the home might sometimes even manage to be overproductive.-         Most of the times when you are sharing the room with another family member who is also working from home you might get disturbed with each other and this might reflect in your work productivity. Rather try tweaking the schedule and take turns while you both plan/ important calls. -        Understanding there are situations where you do not have the liberty to tweak, try and place your situation, that you might have a background interference and that it is not possible to gain control over it due to the lack of space available. Being a working mom I feel guilty about not being able to support my child during online school hoursStrategy-        While a child does not require adult supervision all the time there are instances when they require help. Teach the child to call out for help when required and whoever can manage to attend can be available for a brief time. Sometimes, it would be helpful to teach the child to make a note and discuss it with the parents when possible during the day. -        For the younger ones, a lot of schools offer recorded sessions. The parents can go through the recording while they help the child learn in their home study times. -        One does not have to feel guilty for prioritizing children overwork when absolutely necessary or vice versa as most of the situations are real-time. At times it may suit you to go with the choice of a career break or switch to prioritize family but at the end not feel guilty. Taking a break gets all the more important with the busy & mundane lives we have been living for more than a year. We need to be more empathetic with each other as everyone is affected in some other way due to the Pandemic. Take a day off from work and utilize the time with leisure activities and spend time on your hobbies. Carpediem would like to acknowledge the use of Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

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Education 1.0 was a time in our childhood when all knowledge and information came from the teacher at school or the parent at home. As we moved on to Education 2.0 & Education 3.0 with increased access to information, learning became accessible anywhere and anytime. Global connectivity and smart machines are some of the drivers reshaping how we work, what constitutes work, and how we learn and develop the skills that will be needed for future work profiles. Other factors like the COVID-19 pandemic have given the extra impetus and will definitely result in changes of a different magnitude in our environments and the way we live life going forward. McKinsey and  Company have listed the future of skills required in 2030 compared to those required in 2016. According to their research based on US & European markets, more time will be spent on sectors requiring higher cognitive skills, social and emotional skills, and technological skills as compared to physical skills and lower-order thinking skills. Schools would therefore need to redesign their curriculum in order to equip the students for future skills. Moving out of the Comfort Zone ….The words of Roy T. Bennett, “change begins at the end of the comfort zone” could not ring truer in the current times. It’s about time we are not happy to live in the past and make use of opportunities that are presented before us by the technological and connectivity advancements. Therefore it’s important to achieve the much-needed paradigm shift in the education system. To achieve this paradigm shift we do need to rely on extensive research and learnings from thought leaders in the field so as to not be reinventing the wheel. Learning going forward would be experiential and will move beyond the boundaries of a traditional classroom. Poking and Prying with a Purpose …..Zora Neale Hurston once said, “Research is formalised curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose”. The time is now to poke and pry and ensure the best solutions are found for the toughest of problems. So what are the problems/concerns/difficulties that come in the way of running an efficient school system? - (1) Managing Inclusive Classrooms (2) Creating Real-World Experiences (3) Effective Parent-Teacher Communication (4) Behaviour Management amongst many others. But none of these is unsolvable and there is sufficient research-based evidence that is available to support your quest for a solution. The importance is to spend time on acquiring the necessary knowledge and skills. Waiting for the next case study ….Seth Godin says “if you wait until there is another case study in your industry, you may be too late”. In the context of Education 4.0 if as leaders or institutions you wait for others to be the first innovators, the first problem solvers or the first creative thinkers you never be able to meet the needs of your stakeholders. It’s important to be the thought leaders in your space and learn from thought leaders in the spaces you are not familiar with. Its time we moved beyond the boundaries and allowed every life experience to be a teacher. Ending with an all-time favourite by Dale Carnegie -"Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.". Go INITIATE - INFLUENCE - GROW.Carpediem would like to acknowledge the use of Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

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"Pursue a career you have the aptitude & passion for and you will never have to work a day in your life". Being a psychologist, my profession brings me in constant interaction with students and their parents. Sometimes it's to discuss the temporary issues that students want to seek professional help for, whereas other times it's for making the right career decisions.Yes, I call it a career decision and not a choice because as I met more students, I realised many of them are sandwiched between parents wanting them to excel in everything they do and have a career that pays them well. Young students have thus started believing that a successful career is all about the highest paid jobs or trendsetters. But really is a success only determined by a well-paid job?Students need to be helped to understand that they might have a strong liking towards certain professions because of the perks it offers but they might not necessarily have the aptitude for the same.An incorrect career decision based on just liking or well-paid salary might lead to job dissatisfaction later in their careers. Job dissatisfaction might then affect the other areas of life. Lately, career assessment is a mandate in most schools. It assesses 4 different areas: IQInterestAptitudePersonality These together determine the options that students can explore to pursue as careers. In schools usually, there is a brief orientation regarding the assessment process and its importance to the parent-child team in the group for students of higher grades. followed by group testing which approximately lasts for a day or two. Once the reports are generated each student-parent team gets a brief time with the psychologist to get the report and the top career options explained Q&A is also a part of this session. A quick peep into the career assessment process for the individuals’ consultation with the parents/caregivers. Followed by the actual process of assessment which lasts for approx 5 to 6 hours. After the report is generated by the psychologist, an explanation of the same is carried out in a brief time with the Parent-child team. Just like cautious parents, you would watch the trailer of the movie first before you let them choose to go watch the movie. Opt for a career assessment to learn their potential in various streams. Everyone is born with a different set of abilities, intellectual capacities, aptitude and skill set. Be mindful of their career decision, so that they do not end up only in the highest-paid job but a career that fulfils their professional goals. A career that they can stick to for most of their life in a satisfactory manner, without having to compromise their professional desires. Remember to get an assessment done by contacting a psychologist be it before choosing a career or when one is wanting to switch a career at any stage in their professional cycle. Carpediem would like to acknowledge the use of Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

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If everyone is  moving forward together then success takes care itself - Henry FordCollaborative Mental Health Care models are fast becoming the need of the hour. Kates, N. et. al. (2011) in their study of the Canadian Collaborative Mental Health Care (CMHC) systems state that CMHC encompasses a range of team-based interventions promoting greater mutual support between providers from different specialities, disciplines and sectors and more coordinated, complementary services to clients which come in with varied mental health concerns.To provide the most comprehensive and coordinated care possible, it is critical for all mental health services to be well linked to and collaboratively involved in multidisciplinary networks. Therapists, therapeutic caseworkers, counsellors, physicians, educators and other mental health professionals are better able to address people's needs and ensure therapeutic success toward defined recovery outcomes as they exchange perspectives and responsibilities. Collaboration can involve better communication, closer personal contacts, sharing of care time, joint educational or remedial programs and/or joint planning. Co-optation v/s Collaborative Approach It is recommended that parents, clinicians, and educators each have a unique and relevant viewpoint on the aims of the child's treatment and various psychosocial strategies for dealing with the child while determining the parameters of the supportive partnership. This means that keeping all viewpoints is beneficial. That also means that if one partner ceded her interests and accepted those of another—for example, if the teacher adopted the parent's goals or the parent adopted the therapist's—the partnership would experience some damage. This is referred to as co-optation. Here are some instances where co-optation might happen in a collaborative mental health care team : (a) Parent and the Pharmacotherapist The most prevalent method of co-optation happens when parents adopt a therapist's therapy advice, as a rule, relinquishing power over their children's treatment. Parents, for example, may follow a pharmacotherapist's recommendation for an effective medicine for their child despite what they see as a negative impact on the child's and family's well-being. The reverse may also happen, where a pharmacotherapist agrees to a parent's request for drug-based treatment of a particular series of symptoms, even though the pharmacotherapist believes the medicine is ineffective. (b) Teacher, Parent & the Therapist  Teachers being the next important figure also regard special education and general education as non-exclusive categories that can be mixed in various ways to better represent an individual's interests. They shape their views on a child's possible prospects of social and academic achievement in general based on their interactions with other children and first-hand awareness of classroom realities in a classroom for schooling. A child's academic location has a significant impact on the child's daily life, effectively changing both the challenges of psychotherapeutic / psychopharmacological care and the domain in which such treatments occur. Whereas a parent or teacher may see a child's therapy as influencing his academic performance.Building Synergy in Collaborative Mental Health Care Webster defines the word ‘Synergy’ as mutually advantageous conjunction or compatibility of distinct participants or elements (such as resources or efforts). The idea of collaboration amongst all allied professionals is to offer a more comprehensive and holistic service that is customized appropriately keeping in mind the client’s mental health concerns. The client, therefore, remains at the center of this entire process rather than the individual ideas of each of the allied professionals. Therefore Interventions will be considered as collaborative care if they fulfil these criteria: Criteria I: A multidisciplinary team  involving a primary care practitioner and at least one other allied professional (eg. school counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, special educator et.al.) Criteria II: A structured mental health plan (eg. use of a structured document like an Individualised Education Plan (IEP) or a counselling plan, evidence-based pharmacotherapy or psychotherapy) Criteria III: A systematic or scheduled approach for follow-up Criteria IV: Suitable and mutually decided process for regular communication between all the stakeholders including the parents (eg. team meetings, shared documents about the client's history/medical records, consultation, therapy progress, minutes of the meetings etc). Most importantly, remember that everyone's presence in the collaboration must be valued and as they say - if you want to be exponentially better, be collaborative, not co-adaptive. Carpediem would like to acknowledge the use of Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

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Social, emotional learning in the classroom has brought significant changes in the ways teachers now approach everything. This everything includes the primary academic subjects or recess. Social-emotional learning aids children in developing positive self-esteem, managing their emotions, set and ultimately achieve goals. Showing empathy for others and handling stress is also a part of the same. According to the National Institute of Health, nearly 33% of teenage students with age 13 to 18 are experiencing an anxiety disorder. The number of children and teens facing an anxiety disorder has seen an upsurge. Emotional learning can provide children with coping mechanisms which can act to reduce the prevalence of anxiety. This can be particularly important if teachers introduce social-emotional learning in early childhood. Many educators believe that SEL helps students learn soft skills, which will help them be productive and subsequently successful adults. Implementation of Social Emotional Learning in ClassroomSocial-emotional learning can be integrated into the very learning environment by the teachers along with the academic curriculum. It can be taught separately from other subjects or implemented to make it an overall classroom philosophy. Students shall greatly benefit if SEL lesson plans are implemented continuously at all grades along with the curriculum. Early childhood teaching would create a strong foundation for learning advanced SEL concepts.Teachers trying to implement SEL must first decide upon a comprehensive curriculum designed to: Help students identify their self-conceptIntroduce Positive Actions for Body and MindTeaching Students to Manage their Feelings Teach EmpathyTeach Students to Face the TruthHelp Students Practice Self-Improvement StrategiesStrategies to Implement Social-Emotional Learning Help Students Identify their Self-Concept The essential feature of SEL in the classroom would consist of student's self-concept and awareness. An individual's self-concept would relate to how they would perceive themselves. Can shape a person's self-concept through interactions with teachers, parents, and peers. Introduce Positive Actions for Body and MindStudents feel delighted about themselves once they complete positive actions successfully. Emphasizing positive physical and intellectual health representing emotional learning helps students establish good habits to achieve success.Teaching Students to Manage their Emotions Students must learn to handle their emotions and develop the habit of helping others and themselves. A belief in positive thoughts leading to positive action must be formed. Students would gain a sense of responsibility that helps in improving their self-concept and boosting their self-esteem. Teach Empathy One must treat others how they would want to be treated. Today, empathy plays a dominant role in the classroom's social-emotional learning. They must learn how to treat others with kindness and to pay respect. Student performance can be rewarded if they do well. Teach Students to Face the Truth Students can recognize their shortcomings through Social-emotional learning, which helps them to improve. Teachers can ask students to take responsibility for their actions and ask them to finish their assignments on time. Help Students Practice Self-Improvement Strategies Students can focus on self-improvement once they recognize their areas of improvement and can learn to take responsibility for their decisions. A growth mindset, or understanding that every individual is capable of learning new skills, plays an essential role in getting about how to implement SEL successfully. Outcomes of SEL Implementation Socio-emotional learning aids students in being more confident and creating kinder students who are in a better situation to face the outside world's stress. Students focus more on their tasks than getting distracted and engaged in inappropriate activities. They are seen to build more self-confidence through SEL and hence betterment in academics. They are seen to get better in reading achievement. Socio-emotional learning enables them to manage and cope with anger rather than initiating violent actions. SEL has been instilled with a greater sense of responsibility to be on time to school and reduced absenteeism. Increase family bonding and a reduction in family conflict are seen, and increasing family bonding is cherished. Rise in favourable development in early childhood a rise in positive effect indicating a rise in self-esteem and physical health is observedThe core SEL competencies enable student life to cope with the daily stresses of life and be more empathetic toward others. Most importantly, SEL aids in creating self-secure individuals with a sound knowledge of academics.Carpediem would like to acknowledge the use of Photo by Domingo Alvarez E on Unsplash

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