Bringing Emotional Well-Being to the American Nicaraguan School with Feel Your Best Self-
By:Eben Jones
Primary Principal
American Nicaraguan School 
 
The American Nicaraguan School (ANS) recently had the pleasure of hosting a team from the University of Connecticut to learn about Feel Your Best Self. Over a few days, our faculty and staff, students, and families explored different options for supporting social and emotional learning using Feel Your Best Self. Feel Your Best Self (FYBS) is a fun toolkit that teaches 12 simple, emotion-focused coping strategies.
 
Using effective coping strategies is an important life skill, and when used regularly, the FYBS strategies may promote emotional well-being. Although useful across life stages, the primary target in FYBS is elementary-aged children. Using FYBS, kids explore different strategies to find those that help them feel their best as they navigate different situations. More information and free FYBS Resources can be found at www.feelyourbestself.org.
 
It is amazing how well FYBS fits with guidance in the recently released U.S. Office of Overseas Schools’ Social Emotional Learning and Child Self-Protection (SELCSP) Standards and Benchmarks for International Schools https://www.feelyourbestself.org/s/International-Crosswalk. Throughout the visit, there was lots of excitement about FYBS and how fun it was to learn new coping skills using puppetry. The best part is the flexibility of FYBS; there are lots of different components with materials available in English and Spanish. ANS teachers introduced FYBS lessons to the whole class, counselors immediately jumped in to using materials in their individual and small group sessions, and families walked away with FYBS strategy cards to post in their own homes for use.
 
At the American Nicaraguan School, we believe that emotion skills such as knowledge and expression of emotions, emotional regulation, empathy, and perspective-taking are critical for responding to everyday situations. Social-emotional learning (SEL) opportunities serve as the cornerstone for both academic excellence and global leadership. By nurturing skills such as emotional regulation, interpersonal communication, critical thinking, and resilience, students can thrive academically and are more prepared to navigate the complexities of global leadership roles. These opportunities cultivate empathy, cultural competence, and a growth mindset, essential for fostering inclusive environments, building strong relationships, and addressing global challenges collaboratively.