A HEALTHIER SOCIETY
Social and emotional learning in theearly years leads to fewer social issuesand increased community involvement.
Our smallest citizens
can change our society.
Social and emotional learning in the early years provides the basic tools required to succeed as individuals and as contributing, engaged citizens. By giving our children the social and emotional tools they need to work together, we are creating the world we want and a more equitable society for us all.
From birth, the skills we develop can have a profound impact – not just on our own lives, but on the places where we live, work, and find community. In this context, SEL skills inspire empathy and a greater interest in the world around us, as well as the role we can play in changing our society for the better.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead
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Making the GradeMany studies have shown the importance of SEL skills in school, revealing how they complement academic ability. Through strong social and emotional skills developed in the early years, students have been shown to exhibit an 11% increase in academic achievement, as well as numerous other benefits including enhanced learning, stronger interpersonal relationships, improved self-awareness, improved classroom behaviour, improved attendance, higher rates of graduation – the list goes on and on.
Skills for the Early YearsRather than focus on any one thing, young children benefit from an equal mix of intellectual, social and emotional learning in the early years to better prepare them for school. On its own, SEL is vital for helping children navigate social interactions, manage their emotions, build relationships, solve problems and establish healthy behaviours that promote school success. Combined with the nurturing of cognitive skills, the result is greater curiosity, learning enjoyment, and academic achievement in the long run.
The Threat of Poor SELAs research has proven, the pressures associated with prioritizing academic skills and school readiness in the early years may come at a cost, and should never be at the expense of healthy social and emotional development. In fact, numerous studies have connected poor SEL skills in the early years to a number of negative outcomes later in life – affecting the likelihood of such milestones as finishing school, overcoming emotional distress, obtaining a good job, or staying on the right side of the law.
What Teachers Tell UsPast surveys with teachers have indicated that almost half of all children experience some difficulty entering kindergarten, but not for the reasons you might think. While there has been much emphasis placed on early years academic skills like being able to count, identify letters or name objects, research has found that teachers place significantly more importance on social and emotional skills as a critical component to school readiness, the ability to learn and ultimately, academic achievement.