4 Benefits of Social Emotional Learning for Children

For decades, parents have been sending their children to school each day, placing them in an environment that fosters growth and development. But what if education is about more than textbooks and classrooms? As it turns out, social and emotional learning are just as crucial to your child’s development.

Everyone, to some degree, experiences social emotional learning, which is proven to be a key component in an individual’s growth. It is through this form of learning that human beings begin to comprehend social and emotional skills, and develop perspectives and skills that are essential in everyday life.

Some of these include:

  • Identifying emotions
  • Healthy self-perception
  • Impulse control
  • Goal-setting
  • Respect for others
  • Conflict resolution
  • Problem solving

As society advances and more is known about human growth and development, it becomes more apparent that social and emotional learning (SEL) is as valuable to our cognitive development as learning how to read, write, and solve mathematical equations. In fact, a recent study showed that achievement scores are 11 percentile points higher on average amongst students who have received SEL education compared to those haven’t.

But the benefits of the social emotional learning theory reach much further than just academics. By using a digital portfolio app, students and parents can now connect daily and discuss the topics covered during SEL programs, which facilitates parent-child bonding and further develops the mind and emotional core of the child. In fact, children experience a wide range of positive results after completing SEL programs.

Below are four benefits of SEL education for children:

  1. Increased interest in learning
    Children who are exposed to social emotional learning show a stronger level of academic motivation, and have a more positive view of their school. According to a study by PromotePrevent, 33% of students who participated in social and emotional learning reported that they now viewed their school as a safe and caring community, when they hadn’t before. This shows that children gain a deeper appreciation for their learning environments and the people they interact with as a result of SEL exposure.
  2. Improved likelihood of being hired
    A 2015 economic analysis showed that since 1980 automation has replaced repetitive and analytical tasks, creating a higher demand for roles that require social skills. Children that participate in social emotional learning are better equipped to excel in these types of positions. Thus, it is acceptable to conclude that students of SEL education are more likely to articulate their point of view well, represent themselves professionally in job interviews, and handle social conflict in a productive way when in the workplace.
  3. Stronger social relationships and reduced social anxiety
    Students who develop their social emotional skills through SEL education benefit from deepened bonds with their peers and others they interact with regularly. This was demonstrated in a 2005 study by the Institute of Education Sciences. In the study, children who participated in SEL lessons worked together more cooperatively and responded more positively to pro-social goals. SEL students also have fewer occurrences of depression, anxiety, stress and social withdraw as evidenced by measures like the Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale.
  4. Less likelihood of engaging in dangerous behaviors later in life
    Students who take part in social emotional learning have been proven to engage in less delinquent behaviors, including vandalism, theft, assault, and disorderly conduct. In a study by Edweek, it was shown that only 937 students out of 2,374 who participated engaged in delinquent behaviors at three months post-SEL learning. When the study was applied to the same number of students who had never participated in SEL learning, the number was much higher, with 1,264 of the students engaging in delinquent behavior three months later. Thus, SEL education resulted in a 12% decrease in delinquent behaviour amongst participants. A fantastic outcome that reduces the amount of money spent on criminal detainment and rehabilitation.

But perhaps the most inspiring proof that social emotional learning is beneficial comes from the fact that 83% of school principals in the United States state that they believe SEL education is important and valuable for students, and that 97% of school principals believe that SEL increases academic achievement amongst students.

The bottom line? The education system is evolving, and academic leaders

are now acknowledging that children learn better when education is approached from both an academic standpoint and a social/emotional standpoint. As children grow within our educational systems, it is important to support them in all aspects of their development, and that is precisely what social emotional learning aims to do.

Interested in introducing more opportunities for developing social emotional skills? Check out our student digital portfolios app within ClassDojo to see how it works!