Coalition to Provide the Facts about the Importance of Social and Emotional Learning

I understand that the only way I can be the Mom I want to be is by working on my own social and emotional skills and seizing opportunities in everyday interactions and challenges to offer practice opportunities in those skills for my son. That’s why Confident Parents, Confident Kids exists for our learning in this area to continue. My teenage son needs to learn how to trust his inner guidance when he’s being pulled by the strong forces of his friends and peers to know the wise course of action (self awareness and responsible decision-making). He needs to learn the ways in which he’s strong in school to build on those strengths and where he needs to work hard because it’s not his strength (self awareness and self management). He needs to know how to listen, communicate and advocate for his learning as he tackles a college preparatory course load (relationship skills and self management). And he needs to create healthy friendships in a highly diverse school environment accepting, valuing and learning from a wide range of world views, identifications, races, and cultures (social awareness and relationship skills).

Bottom line, social and emotional learning is about helping our children come to know themselves and others and their relationship to and interconnection with the wider world. Many of our schools have forgotten that children bring their hearts into the classroom. And those hearts have been broken – as a recent first grader described to me in the last week “into a million tiny pieces” – by our world’s challenges. We cannot ignore those hurting hearts in favor of teaching fractions. In fact, fractions can be taught with social and emotional intelligence. How does math make you feel when you are approaching a problem you know you can solve? How does it make you feel when you approach a problem that appears mind-boggling? The social and emotional curriculum can – and needs to – serve the highest learning agenda that includes deepening our children’s understanding of academic subjects and their hearts in the learning, the relationships that create safety and caring and nurture their motivation to work hard and learn, and the life skill building that only comes through intentional modeling, practice and reinforcement. Where can a student go to be alone and calm down when their heart is beating so fast it feels like it will explode out of their chest? Some schools have an answer. Others don’t. But all need to.

Recent national surveys show that 88 percent of parents want schools to teach social and emotional skills. Yes, when confident parents come together to discuss their concerns consistently we hear they are concerned with school safety, academic recovery, and mental well-being. Parents, educators, and students themselves agree that the focus on strong relationships and future-ready life skills are key ingredients to recovery – and demand that education decision-makers listen to and protect every child’s social, emotional, and academic learning. 

To that end, 20 national organizations representing a wide range of education stakeholders, from parents to superintendents, have launched Leading with SEL. This coalition is actively championing what we know from three decades of research: Social and emotional learning (SEL) belongs in schools. And it belongs in homes too – what you and I have known all along.

Confident Parents joins with long-time partners including Highlights for Children, National Parent Teacher Association and the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning along with new friends including American Institute of Research, the School Superintendents’ Association and Communities In Schools among others. The Leading with SEL coalition was created to represent research-based information on social and emotional learning and help broaden awareness of the benefits of supporting the social, emotional, and academic development of all children. Rather than politicize social and emotional learning, coalition members are focused on making sure every student has what they need to succeed in schools, prepare for the future, and achieve their goals.

To learn more about what the Coalition is up to — and also, to check out the helpful resources on their website many of which are to support parents and caregivers in taking action, check out Leading with SEL.

Here’s an impromptu public service announcement shared by one of the Confident Parent Lead Authors, Nikkya Hargrove by her children Aviah and Lera who share what they’ve learned about an SEL concept they learned at school. Check it out!

Aviah: You don’t have a fixed mindset, Mommy because you believe you can get in this tire swing.

Nikkya: What do I have then?

Aviah: You have a growth mindset.

Nikkya: And where did you learn that from?

Aviah: School.

Lera: School is good.

Aviah: You should always go to school.

Lera: Even you!

Thanks Nikkya, Aviah and Lera!

#leadingwithSEL #parentingwithSEL

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