SEL Starts with the Adults

The importance of supporting young children’s social and emotional growth in early learning settings, such as child care centers and preschools, is well established. It is part of their “core business”, something they do day in and day out. There is, however, an important aspect of SEL that is not considered part of this work—the need to support early childhood educators’ social and emotional capacity.

Last week, I was fortunate to spend time with a group of early childhood professionals at NAEYC’s annual conference in Nashville, TN. We discussed the importance of supporting the social and emotional skills of the adults that work with children, not only because they model these skills to students (intentionally or not), but also because you cannot teach what you don’t practice. We need to help educators build fluency with their own HEART skills first, so they are able to effectively help their students today and in the future. If you want to learn how, let me know.

During my time with these educators, I was reminded of the impact that collaboration and connection have on our wellbeing. It allows us to see and feel our shared humanity, an opportunity to show appreciation for our contributions and those of others. As I shared the HEART in Mind model, I felt (re)energized to continue building the social and emotional capacity of our learning communities, and grateful to have so many colleagues and collaborators doing the work that matters.

Wishing everyone a peaceful Thanksgiving holiday.

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