Self – who we are|
“Understanding who you are [and] how you identify yourself in terms of culture, environment, physical attributes, preferences, skills, and experiences.” – from Caring for Children in School-Age Programs II
In Caring for Children in School-Age Programs Volume II, sense of self is defined as
“understanding who you are [and] how you identify yourself in terms of culture, environment,
physical attributes, preferences, skills, and experiences” (p. 119).
There are seven areas integral to how youth shape their identities:
Autonomy. Youth need control over their lives and need to know that their actions genuinely impact their lives and those around them.
Structure. Youth want consistency, knowing that they can depend on certain routines, expectations, events, and people to regularly be part of their lives.
Positivity. Youth need to see the world as interesting and enjoyable and see themselves as having a positive place in it. It is also important that youth feel like they will succeed in the future.
Esteem. Youth need to like and believe in themselves. They need to be recognized as good people with good ideas and qualities.
Community. Youth need to belong and be valued by their families, peers, cultural groups, and other entities within their social realms.
Talent. Youth need to be acknowledged for their special abilities and skills, those areas of their personalities which make them unique individuals.
Significance. Youth need to feel like they are needed and that their contributions are valued. This may tie into their spirituality, principles, values, and beliefs in higher deities.
Above content adapted from the Search Institute and the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning’s Promoting the Social-Emotional Competence of Young Children: Facilitator’s Guide (2003).
Activities to Promote Self Development:
Click on the name of the activity to go to the website for more detail. Bold letters in parentheses indicate the age group (I = Infant, T = Toddler, P = Preschooler, S = School-ager, A = Adolescent) for which the activity is targeted. Of course, with modifications the activity can be appropriate for other age groups as well.