Maybe you’ve heard the term social-emotional learning but you are not completely clear on what it is. The Committee for Children says:
Social-emotional learning (SEL) is the process of developing the self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills that are vital for school, work, and life success.
Social-Emotional Learning, often referred to as ‘SEL’ includes so many things! It’s not a subject like history or math. Social-emotional learning is a broader set of skills that are infused into all aspects of learning and being an active, empathetic citizen in the world. Social-emotional learning skills help us interact with others, understand ourselves and our behavior, and manage our emotions.
Social-emotional skills help us manage families, pursue successful careers and maintain meaningful relationships. This is why the earlier we can bolster social-emotional skills in our young children, the more prepared they will be to lead happy, healthy lives.
Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) digs into the research that explains ways SEL can support mental health, and advance equity. CASEL also highlights “statistically significant associations between social and emotional skills in kindergarten and key outcomes for young adults years later.” Specifically, early social and emotional skills development help to reduce societal costs related to public assistance, public housing, police involvement, and detention.
The Collaboration for Early Childhood partners with staff members at early childhood, pediatric, and community sites, who are members of the Developmental Screening Project, to incorporate developmental screenings for young children in their work. One of the screening tools used is the Ages and Stages Questionnaire: Social-Emotional, Second Edition (ASQ:SE-2). This screening gives a snapshot of the social and emotional development of young children and helps to identify social-emotional areas that may be in need of support. When young children are supported in their social and emotional development, they are better able to continue to learn age appropriate social and emotional skills. Participants in the Collaboration’s Developmental Screening Project monitor social-emotional development in the context of “whole child” development by also using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire, Third Edition (ASQ-3), which is a global developmental screening tool.
You may not realize it, but you are already teaching your child social-emotional skills. You model it every day by managing your time, or by letting an elderly person take your seat on a crowded bus and waiting your turn to check out books at the library. You model social-emotional skills by saying how you feel, and exploring how characters in the stories you read with your child feel and why.
If you are looking for more inspiration to flex those social-emotional muscles, there are so many fun ways to support social and emotional development at home. Here are some resources to help you get started:
- NAEYC: Building Social and Emotional Skills at Home
- PBS Kids: Emotions & Self-Awareness
- How Parents of Preschoolers Can Support Social-Emotional Development from Brookes Publishing
- Resources from Big Heart World to support your child’s social and emotional learning
- Zero to Three: Social and Emotional Development Resources
- The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning’s Family Tools page is chock-full of whitepapers about building confidence in your child, and nurturing social emotional development.
- “Social Emotional Learning Day” (www.selday.org): sign up to celebrate social-emotional learning on March 10, 2023 and beyond.
If you are interested in learning more about developmental screenings, or have a question about your child’s development, reach out to us!