Make no mistake: Attempts to ban social and emotional learning in schools contradicts what the majority of parents and caregivers want.
Hundreds of independent studies have demonstrated what you know and have experienced firsthand – social and emotional learning translates into higher academic achievement, mental wellness, and long-term well-being. That’s why overwhelming majorities of parents across the political aisle have repeatedly demanded social and emotional learning in schools.
If we want our children to stay motivated in school, succeed in the workplace, contribute to their communities, and achieve their goals, then we should be supporting social and emotional learning.
Hear from Parents: Real Stories, Real Families
Why do parents and caregivers support social and emotional learning (SEL) for their children? We partnered with families across the country to answer that question.
Have a listen as seven caregivers share why they believe in an education that prioritizes SEL. We believe their stories will inspire more caregivers to support the development of social and emotional competencies for the leaders of today and tomorrow.
Real Stories, Real Families was made possible with the generous support of the Allstate Foundation.
Meet Jason Miller (Ohio)
"It's really up to us to continue to cultivate the skills at a relevant age - while also doing the same work for ourselves as parents."
Tune in: 2 mins, 48 secs
Meet April Ybarra (California)
“My daughter has to know the 'why'. For her teacher to recognize it as a strength and value her for being curious was heartfelt.”
Tune in: 2 mins, 17 secs
Meet Shara Ayers (Tenn.)
“Social and emotional learning contributes to who you are, what you do, the things you say, and how you act.”
Tune in: 2 mins, 19 secs
Meet Mari Terczak (Michigan)
"Social and emotional learning is a true extension of our parenting values and our parent goals - at the very heart of them."
Tune in: 2 mins, 24 secs
Meet Xiaohong Li (Illinois)
“With SEL, you can build up solutions for any problem, any challenges, any goal, or any dream you want.”
Tune in: 2 mins, 3 secs
Meet April Williams (Georgia)
“I want my boys to be able to understand how they’re feeling in a moment and what it is that they need.”
Tune in: 2 mins, 22 secs
Meet Mike Wilson (Texas)
“It’s important for my girls to understand how they feel about a particular topic, even if it’s against the majority.”
Tune in: 2 mins, 6 secs
Learn and Share
Social and emotional learning shows up in so many ways both inside and outside the classroom – in our relationships, in our parenting, in the workplace, in our engagements with schools, and in our everyday interactions both in person and virtually. In all of these situations, we and our young people have the opportunity to use and strengthen essential life skills, known as social and emotional competencies.
- Self-awareness: How we identify our emotions and thoughts, and understand how they influence our behavior.
- Self-management: How we manage our emotions and thoughts, including managing stress, setting goals, and staying motivated.
- Social awareness: How we understand and empathize with others.
- Relationship skills: How to establish, maintain, and grow healthy and supportive relationships.
- Responsible decision-making: How we make caring and constructive choices, while also understanding the consequences of action or inaction.
Want to learn more?
- Tune in to a podcast: What is SEL Anyway? (National PTA)
- Watch a video series on How Learning Happens (Edutopia)
Advocate for SEL: Your Voice Matters!
Elected officials make important decisions every day that impact our children and families – so they need to hear from you.
- of parents want their students to learn social and emotional skills like respect, cooperation, perseverance, and empathy. (National PTA, 2022)
- of parents say social and emotional learning creates a positive classroom environment where children learn the skills they need to succeed – in school and their future. (Benenson Strategy Group, 2022)
- of parents said social and emotional learning has become even more important since the pandemic (McGraw Hill, 2021)
- If you are a parent or caregiver, urge your state and federal lawmakers to prioritize access to social and emotional learning with this two-minute action
Connecting with Educators
How do you connect with your child’s teachers?
How can you play a meaningful role with your child’s school in promoting safety, caring and connection? Engaging in our child’s education as a parent is essential to our child’s school success. As parents/caregivers, we want to be involved and connected to our schools, yet, we may not always know exactly what role might be most helpful for us to play.
Below are some practical resources to empower you to take a first or next step!
Build Skills at Home
Did you know that social and emotional skills are first learned at home through interaction with parents and caregivers?
In fact, that learning at home continues from the earliest days of infancy through the teenage years. When parents were surveyed about their hopes and dreams for their children, they said they hoped their children would be happy, confident, responsible, kind, and loving among others. These hopes directly align with social and emotional skills that can be practiced and advanced through everyday routines, conversations and even challenges. So the exciting news is that, if we become intentional about modeling and teaching social and emotional skills at home, we have the chance each day to work toward our hopes and dreams for our children in small, practical ways.
- Confident Parents, Confident Kids – The first blog to dedicate itself to advancing parents and caregivers knowledge and understanding of parenting with social and emotional learning. The site has a wealth of free tools, resources and strategies at each and every age and stage.
- Parenting Montana – A website that offers over 100 parenting tools or processes to address the most commonly-faced challenges based on social and emotional learning at home research (authored by the founder of Confident Parents). Tools were developed on the hottest issues at each age and stage like bullying in third grade, listening in eighth grade or peer pressure in tenth grade.
- PBS Parenting Minutes – Check out these video shorts for parents of young children to learn simple ways in which to promote social and emotional skills at home like expressing emotions in healthy ways.
- The Power of Parenting with Social and Emotional Learning – New to social and emotional learning and parenting? This Huffington Post article offers a quick read on what it means and what it entails.
- Family Resources & Activities to Promote Social and Emotional Development – National PTA has developed resources to understand what social and emotional learning can look like at home and also offers specific family games and activities so that families can work on exercising these invaluable life skills together.