This school year Eatontown Public Schools is implementing a Social and Emotional Learning initiative called, “Supporting Eatontown Learners.” The main goal of this effort is to ensure students’ social and emotional well-being is addressed during the course of the school day. As a community, the first step to addressing students’ social and emotional needs is to recognize that times have changed.
Today’s students face an educational environment that is very different from the past. Students encounter the pressures associated with high-stakes testing each day. Children come to school in a time when school violence and terror attacks are widely reported in the news media on a consistent basis. Due to economic pressures, some students lack the basic necessities to support effective learning: shelter, food, and access to healthcare. Currently, schools are supporting and managing students from grades PK—12 who suffer from anxiety, depression, or other conditions.
Due to these factors, developing a school culture that systematically and meaningfully addresses students’ social and emotional needs is paramount to effective learning and teaching. Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is not telling every student they are great or removing consequences for inappropriate behavior. SEL is about meeting students where they are socially and emotionally and authentically working with children to help them grow in the areas where growth is needed.
“SEL enhances students’ capacity to integrate skills, attitudes, and behaviors to deal effectively and ethically with daily tasks and challenges,” according to CASEL.org. There are five core competencies that children need to learn both at school as well as at home, including Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, and Responsible Decision-Making. Research clearly demonstrates that students perform better and are more successful when they are proficient in each of the competencies listed above. Please consider visiting CASEL.org for more information.