Social-emotional learning: Families and teachers say it’s essential for students today

75% of parents say they support SEL instruction because of the positive impact it has on their child's academic success.

“We’ve found that when parents and families truly understand the fundamental everyday life skills—like communication and self-discipline—there’s an aha moment and broad support for SEL among families of all backgrounds across the political spectrum.”

That’s according to Andrea Lovanhill, CEO of Committee for Children, a global nonprofit organization that promotes safety and well-being for children through SEL.

Mental health among students is now in a state of crisis following the pandemic as 79% of teachers report that mental health among their students has worsened since the pandemic, according to the latest results from the Voices from the Classroom 2022 report from Educators for Excellence.

During the pandemic, students spent more time behind a screen, less time being physically active, and far less time engaging in face-to-face conversation.

So, what needs to be done? According to teacher responses gathered in the report, they need more mental health providers:

  • 72% agree schools should prioritize hiring more mental health counselors/providers.
  • 66% agree schools should equip teachers with the best mental health practices for their students.
  • 54% want professional development to promote better school and classroom cultures.

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However, the teacher/employee shortage has only made things more difficult for districts in their ability to provide these services. 70% of teachers say this is a significant issue. Parents agree, and they’re asking schools to provide more social-emotional learning opportunities for their kids.

The Committee for Children found that parents across political ideologies overwhelmingly support SEL in their child’s school:

  • 81% of Republicans and 79% of Democrats whose child’s school provides SEL say their school should do more or is doing the proper amount of SEL instruction.
  • 75% of parents support SEL because it fosters a positive classroom environment.

“This isn’t about politics or ideology; it’s about working together as parents and educators to ensure that our kids are healthy, happy, successful humans inside and outside the classroom,” said Committee for Children CEO Andrea Lovanhill. “Creating a positive environment where children learn how to focus and be productive means more confident kids with higher academic achievement. It’s as simple as that.”

Micah Ward
Micah Ward
Micah Ward is a District Administration staff writer. He recently earned his master’s degree in Journalism at the University of Alabama. He spent his time during graduate school working on his master’s thesis. He’s also a self-taught guitarist who loves playing folk-style music.

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