Giving Compass' Take:

• An important part of youth development is social-emotional learning, but teaching it doesn't come easily. Jessica Lovins works at WINGS for Kids, an organization working to provide at-risk children with the skills they need in life to succeed, and explains that SEL learning starts with the teachers. 

• Ensuring that adults fully develop their skills in this area provides them with the opportunity to pass them along to kids. How can nonprofit organizations encourage more SEL programs?

• Read about the call for social and emotional learning in schools.

We are not born with social-emotional skills. They are formed in childhood, cultivated throughout our lives, and can continue to grow and evolve. Therefore, in order for children to learn and witness social-emotional learning (SEL), it must begin with adults. The organization I work for, WINGS for Kids, believes that helping adults develop their social-emotional skills allows them to support, engage, and teach these critical life skills to students. After all, you can’t teach what you don’t know.

All schools and afterschool programs have the potential to transform the way educators and adults approach SEL and infuse it into their daily lessons and activities. Here are three ways you can get started on helping educators develop social-emotional skills.

  1. Infuse social-emotional skill-building activities into professional development sessions.
  2. Create an SEL vocabulary for adults and kids to use.
  3. Encourage self-reflection.

Surveys tell us that educators welcome support around social-emotional learning: in fact, 82 percent of teachers expressed a desire to receive SEL training. With these three simple ways to help adults develop their own social-emotional skills, we can give our students SEL role models who can effectively teach them the skills they need for success now and in the future.

Read the full article about developing social-emotional skills by Jessica Lovins at Getting Smart.