The Take 5! Approach

Take 5! Self-Reg Asset-Building

Take 5! is a strengths-based, asset-building approach to self-regulation and social-emotional learning. It's a comprehensive yet hands-on practical approach that helps children and youth thrive, growing essential capacities for learning, mental wellness, healthy relationships and lifelong development.

Self-regulation isn’t a new concept, but knowledge is quickly accelerating. In recent years, self-regulation has bloomed as a field of research, and an expanding area of professional learning and practice. Today we have access to important advances in diverse fields, including neurobiology, psychology, education, medicine, human and social development, and trauma studies. And our understanding of self-regulation will continue to grow as leading edge research and practice innovations are integrated into everyday life.

Take 5! Self-Reg Asset-Building is grounded in up-to-date research and evidence in each of these areas, as well as the continuously expanding field of social and emotional learning (SEL). Key insights are synthesized into an easy-to-teach and easy-to learn approach to self-regulation that can be put into practice by parents, educators and other human service professionals. Best of all, Take 5! is child-centered and child-empowering, offering a simple framework that kids can make their own.

The Take 5! approach integrates five essential building blocks for self-regulation:

BE HERE   Mindful Awareness Assets

BE WITH   Interpersonal Effectiveness Assets

BE CALM   Emotion Regulation Assets

BE STRONG   Resilience & Thriving Assets

BE CHANGE  Connectedness & Contribution Assets.

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The Inside Story of Social and Emotional Learning 

Take 5! aligns with, and helps foster, the core social and emotional learning competencies identified by CASEL. And, with a solid grounding in neuroscience, mental health & wellness, and human development, the Take 5! approach is value-added, offering:

  • A neuroscience-informed definition of self-regulation: the ability to use my mind to monitor and modify my experiences, including my energy, emotions, thoughts, focus & attention, and my interactions with others.
  • Identification of self-regulation - the ability to monitor and modify one's experience - as a core capacity for all SEL objectives identified by various players in this growing field of learning and assessment; depending on the program, these objectives are described as self-management, self-awareness, social awareness, responsible decision-making, relationship skills, self-efficacy, growth mindset, grit, conflict resolution, respect for diversity, sense of belonging, cooperation, empathy, self-control and assertiveness.
  • A holistic understanding of the inner and outer dynamics of self-regulation, integrating mind, brain & body, and relationships.
  • A developmentally-aligned and scaffolded approach to growing self-reg strengths in children, beginning in the early years, and continuing to grow capacity throughout childhood, youth and young adulthood.
  • A curriculum that encourages young people to see the connections between their inner experience and their outer actions & behaviours, and to learn how they can make more mindful and skillful choices ... even in those challenging moments.
  • Classroom activities guided by the Take 5! Basic Recipe: Awareness + Action = Self-Regulation

The Take 5! Starter Kit offers an abundance of very practical teaching tools, including Hand Signals, Hand Tools, and a broad range of fun & engaging activities designed to support self-reg asset-building. These activities help children to strengthen those essential inner capacities that enable them to self-regulate. These inner capacities include:

  • Mindful awareness: self & other + context
  • Perspective-taking: self & other + context
  • Flexible thinking / complexity thinking
  • Emotion regulation
  • Self-calming
  • Distress tolerence
  • Reality acceptance
  • Impulse control
  • Problem-solving
  • Trusting inner wisdom
  • Boundary awareness
  • Resilience + response-ability
  • Insight
  • Empathy
  • Self-compassion
  • A sense that positive change is possible
  • A sense of self-agency, self-leadership, self-influence, and self-governance
  • Self-reg empowerment: "I can be the boss of me!"

When young people are supported to strengthen these inner capacities, the benefits accrue in all aspects of life, including a healthy mind, skillful actions and behaviors, and thriving relationships.

The Basic Recipe

Awareness is the key variable in self-regulation; in fact it's the key variable in meeting all SEL objectives. The Basic Recipe reminds us that, when we're self-regulating, awareness precedes action. Of course, awareness changes as minds grow and develop. But the basic principal remains the same:


Practice, Practice, Practice ... 

Take 5! Self-Reg Asset-Building equips young people with powerful tools to prevent problems, and to unleash their potential. When kids can lay claim to lots of self-reg assets, learning, relationships, mental wellness and healthy development are optimized.

Neuroscience shows that the more we practice a skill, the more it’s "on line" and available ... even when the going gets rough. With self-reg it’s not just the brain that’s being rewired, however, but the mind as well. In fact, when it comes to self-reg strengths-building, it’s the mind that flexes most of the muscle. The more I practice and build those muscles, the more my mind can help my brain and body to self-regulate. And the more I can self-regulate, the more I can say: "I'm the boss of me!"