New Social and Emotional Learning Standards in Massachusetts

Eye on Early Education reports on Massachusetts’ new Social and Emotional Learning Standards:

The standards explain: “As Preschool children enter group settings, they engage in a growing circle of deepening relationships with adults and peers outside of the family, and move from self-focused activity to participation in groups. They develop a growing set of skills with guidance and meaningful feedback from caring adults, including skills in developing friendships, following rules and routines, playing in a group, resolving conflicts, sharing, and taking turns, along with essential dispositions for learning.”

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The benefits for children could be huge. As PBS Newshour’s Judy Woodruff reported during the summer: “In a report released today, researchers tracked more than 700 children from kindergarten to age 25. They found students’ social skills, like cooperation, listening to others and helping classmates, held strong clues for how those children would fare two decades later. In some cases, social skills may even be better predictors of future success than academic ones.”

Carol Dweck Revisits the ‘Growth Mindset’

Carol Dweck, renowned Stanford professor and author of “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” offers important advice about the hard work of promoting growth mindsets. Be sure to see her discussion of the growth mindset being about more than sheer effort and the helpful graphic at the end.

From the article:

… a few years back, I published my book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success to share these discoveries with educators. And many educators have applied the mindset principles in spectacular ways with tremendously gratifying results.

This is wonderful, and the good word continues to spread. But as we’ve watched the growth mindset become more popular, we’ve become much wiser about how to implement it. This learning—the common pitfalls, the misunderstandings, and what to do about them—is what I’d like to share with you, so that we can maximize the benefits for our students.

Build Initiative’s Community Systems Development Toolkit

The Build Initiative has published a large collection of resources to guide community system-building efforts.

The Community Systems Development Toolkit supports the hands-on implementation of collaborative systems work at the local level, providing resource tools that cover the full spectrum of community systems and coordination work.

Tailored to the needs of community-based collaboration and organized in systems change theory, the toolkit is designed to provide accessible, comprehensive resources supporting the changing stages and needs of communities engaged in collaborative work. Tools include forms, examples of community level strategies, questions, guidance, samples, processes and articles.

The Toolkit is organized in four sections:

  1. Setting and Resetting the Stage
  2. Assessment and Planning
  3. Working Together/Taking Action
  4. Measuring Progress and Evaluating Impact

Social and Emotional Learning in Schools: Excerpts from a Helpful Overview

A large-scale meta-analysis of 213 studies involving over 270,000 students confirmed that SEL [social-emotional learning] produces significant positive effects in six different aspects of adjustment. These outcomes included improvements in academic performance, SEL skills, prosocial behaviors, and attitudes toward self and others (e.g., self-esteem, bonding to school), as well as reductions in conduct problems and emotional distress (e.g., anxiety and depression). [Emphasis added.]

Teachers were more successful when conducting programs than were outside staff members who entered the school to administer programs. This indicated that SEL interventions can be incorporated into routine educational practice. [Emphasis added.]

Unfortunately, most programs are introduced into schools as a succession of fragmented fads, isolated from other programs, and the school becomes a hodgepodge of prevention and youth development initiatives, with little direction, coordination, sustainability, or impact.

Many teachers respond favorably to the possibility of providing SEL programming to their students, although they need administrative and policy support to do so effectively. Their efforts are enhanced when … leaders champion a vision, policies, professional learning communities, and supports for coordinated classroom, schoolwide, family, and community programming. [Emphasis added.]

Continue reading “Social and Emotional Learning in Schools: Excerpts from a Helpful Overview”

New Infant-Toddler Report and Other Resources

The Center for American Progress has released a new report, “Emerging State and Community Strategies to Improve Infant and Toddler Services.” The report makes policy recommendations for financing and aligning infant-toddler services and includes examples of both state and community initiatives that target high-needs neighborhoods.

Decades of research on brain development and outcomes from early learning interventions have clearly demonstrated that children thrive when they have consistent access to high-quality early childhood programs starting at birth or even before and continuing until they enter kindergarten. Yet too often, programs that target young children provide services in isolation, are underfunded, and fail to meet the needs of all eligible families. Creating a continuum of services that are intentionally aligned to reach children for as long as possible can help ensure that early childhood services and programs effectively support all aspects of young children’s healthy development.

Also see Eye on Early Education’s piece on the Massachusetts Reading Corps:

“But are we really meeting the needs of the people we’re serving?”

That’s what Shannon Langone wanted to know in 2007 when she started working for the AmeriCorps program at Springfield College.

“What can we do that we know will work?” she wondered and set out to find ways to make a measurable difference for school children.

She found an answer in the Midwest: the Minnesota Reading Corps.

And as another indication of the growing recognition of the importance of social-emotional skills:

Early Childhood Social-Skills Program Boosted by $20 Million Donation

Vroom Delivers Tips, Community Playbook, and Apps for Parents and Caregivers

Vroom now has a community playbook available for free. From a post on the Grade-Level Reading Campaign’s Huddle site:

Vroom turns shared moments into brain building moments. Whether it’s mealtime, bathtime, or anytime in between, there are always ways to nurture our children’s growing minds.

Vroom was developed by a group of dedicated scientists, community leaders, and trusted brands, with input from community organizations and families like yours. Together, we’re providing parents and caregivers with ways to boost early learning in fun and friendly ways.

Vroom was designed to be owned, adopted, and driven by others, and we’re working hard to make this a reality. At this stage in the development of Vroom, we have completed our pilot project in the Seattle area, and as a result we’ve published a Vroom Playbook as a “how to” for communities, organizations, and individuals interested in activating Vroom. Our Playbook, printable tips, and other materials are freely available for download from the “Tools and Activities” section of our website at joinvroom.org. For your convenience, here is a direct link to those materials, available in English and in Spanish.