SEL: What’s That?!

There are so many buzz words in education… IEP (Individual Education Plan); STEM (science, technology, Engineering, math). Now, we have a new one to add to our lexicon: SEL (Social Emotional Learning).

SELToo often we focus on scores and grades as the basis of students’ academic achievement and overall success. I can certainly remember being at Villa Maria grade school and boasting about how many As I had on my report card – something we all did! At that time, none of us stopped to think or discuss the “other side” of learning.

However, today we are hearing that with our emphasis on academics, social emotional learning is being left by the wayside. So what is being lost? I would suggest that Social Emotional skills are those that enable us to get along with our peers, cooperate with others, manage our emotions, and persist at challenging tasks.

This got me thinking: aren’t those the skills we need to be successful in the world of work? This takes on even greater significance when we consider that many children living in poverty show delays in not only academic development but also social emotional development when they enter kindergarten.

So, at the age of 5, these children have serious challenges to overcome for them to be successful in school. What might be some of the answers?

  • Quality preschool education for all children would be a great beginning
  • Include social emotional learning along with our academic programs
  • Actively engage parents in the process

Our children are our future. Let’s invest in them now!

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