I have seen firsthand throughout the years the impact purposeful social emotional lessons can have on a child. To watch a child struggling to control his anger learn to use coping strategies and identify his triggers is priceless. I have implemented several SEL programs throughout my career, and I have witnessed the changes in the children's ability to self-regulate, develop empathy, problem solve, and cooperate with peers. As our society is moving towards a more inclusive environment, it is important to spend the time to teach our children about our differences and similarities, what makes all of us special, and the importance of being kind.
I have included a video that I encourage you to watch, in between two quotes that are close to my heart. I hope you enjoy the pages on this website and find the content helpful. If you require additional information or have any questions, please feel free to email me (contact information is found on the last page). Thank you for visiting :-)
Lower social emotional competence during the preschool years predicted both internalizing and externalizing problems in early adolescence (Bornstein et al, 2010).
Without explicit, meaningful teaching and coaching in these social and emotional skills, students may not be able to manage their feelings and behaviors successfully (Schultz, Coombs Richardson, Barber & Wilcox, 2011).
Three and four-year-old students who lack social and emotional capability frequently demonstrate negative behaviors and become discipline problems in school. If they are constantly removed from the classroom or the school, they are missing key instructional time and are at risk for not achieving academic success (McClelland, 2006).
The Center for American Progress found that an estimated 50,000 preschoolers were suspended at least once and another 17,000 were expelled. That means across public and private preschool settings, about 250 preschool students are suspended or expelled each day (Malik, 2017). These numbers are shocking and disheartening, especially since there is no research that shows that suspending preschool students will lead to a positive change in their behavior.
Research has shown that school and teacher-based factors lead to the disproportionate representation of economically disadvantaged, ELL, and students from a particular culture/ethnicity in school districts. Especially when those students exhibit challenging behaviors. Two resources to help combat the disproportionality, while attempting to address the inequity in special education are culturally responsive practice and social emotional learning (Sciuchetti, 2017).
Teaching children how to effectively manage and express their emotions and engage in positive relationships before and during the early childhood years may decrease their risk for developing behavioral, academic and mental health problems in the future (Schultz et. al 2011).
More and more, schools are focusing on early interventions to help correct behavioral and academic concerns at the earliest stage of education. The earlier parents and schools intervene and teach children prosocial skills and empathy, the easier it will be for that child to distinguish the negative behaviors and start emulating positive behaviors.
Implementing a Social Emotional Learning curriculum in a school can have various positive implications:
- SEL programs teach children self-regulation, coping and anger management skills, and friendship skills.
- SEL programs have been shown to decrease the occurrence of problem behaviors in the classroom.
- When problem behaviors are decreased, this allows more time for the teacher to focus on academic content which will help students increase their academic achievement with more time on task. This may correlate to higher graduation rates.
- Teaching children friendship skills and empathy may correlate to a decrease in bullying behavior.
Malik, R. (2017 Nov 6). New data reveal 250 Preschoolers are suspended or expelled every day. Center for American Progress. Retrieved from: www.americanprogress.org/issues/early- childhood/news/2017/11/06/442280/new-data-reveal-250-preschoolers-suspended-expelled-every-day/
McClelland, M. (2006). The impact of kindergarten learning-related skills on academic trajectories at the end of elementary school. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 21, 471–490.
Schultz, B. L., Coombs Richardson, R., Barber, C. R., & Wilcox, D. (2011). A preschool pilot study of connecting with others: Lessons for teaching social and emotional competence. Early Childhood Education Journal, 39, 143-148.
Sciuchetti, M. B. (2017). Addressing inequity in special education: An integrated framework for culturally responsive social emotional practice. Psychology in the Schools, 54, 1245-1251.