Parents and caregivers are students’ first teachers and have the right to shape their children’s education. So when parents say social and emotional learning (SEL) is essential to their children’s future – their voices need to be heard. At a time when SEL has never been more important to accelerate academics, address mental health concerns, and keep young people safe, CASEL and The Allstate Foundation partnered with families across the country to amplify their stories on the real impact of SEL.
Real Stories, Real Families is an audio collection featuring accounts from seven caregivers nationwide on why they believe in an education that prioritizes SEL. The hope is that their stories will inspire more caregivers to support the development of social and emotional competencies for the leaders of today and tomorrow.
According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), SEL was defined nearly three decades ago to support schools in developing the skills, knowledge, and attitudes that help youth achieve their goals and contribute to their communities. Recent surveys and reports show that: 82% of parents say SEL has become even more important since the pandemic, 88% support their students learning key social and emotional skills, and the vast majority of parents across party lines support SEL. Now is the time for schools and families to work together to support the social, emotional, and academic development of our nation’s children.
Social and emotional skills – like communicating clearly, taking initiative, problem-solving and interpersonal skills – are essential tools for youth in their schools, careers, communities, and civic life. The audio collection features insights on how parents are supporting SEL, ways to partner with schools on this effort, and guidance for other parents and caregivers.
“These voices are just a few of the resounding parent voices across the country calling for educators, policy leaders, and others to prioritize what’s best for children,” said Justina Schlund, senior director of content and field learning at CASEL. “Parents are the experts on their children, and they have long known what the research confirms – that social and emotional learning is essential to children’s learning and development. ”
“Overwhelming evidence shows social emotional learning and service-learning give youth skills to be more successful in school, future jobs, and interpersonal relationships,” said former educator Francie Schnipke Richards, vice president, social responsibility and The Allstate Foundation. “If parents and caregivers are welcomed into the youth development partnership, we will see better outcomes and holistic support for youth at school, home and in the community.”
The audio collection is part of a larger effort to broaden awareness and understanding of social and emotional learning. Recently, a small number of loud voices with media attention and political dollars have attempted to portray a false “controversy” about SEL. It’s time we give the microphone back to families, students, and educators. As these audio stories and recent surveys confirm, SEL is the will of parents. Learn more: leadingwithsel.org