A STRONGER ECONOMY
Social and emotional learning in the early years aids in future employment and economic benefits for society.
From the early years
to the earning years.
Beyond the positive impacts to brain development, success in school and society as a whole, social and emotional development in the early years has been directly tied to important economic impacts as well – from greater income for SEL-equipped individuals (and higher tax revenue as a result), to various economic benefits for us all.
Since an emphasis on SEL can prevent costly health, policing, employment and other deficits from emerging in the first place, all evidence points to the importance of starting as early as possible. The research is clear: SEL benefits children from all walks of life equally, the returns are significant, and the cost of doing nothing is far too great.
“Quality early learning and development programs can foster valuable skills, strengthen our workforce, grow our economy and reduce social spending.”
– Professor James J. Heckman, Nobel Laureate in Economics
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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.