“It’s about being proactive—before they blow up—instead of reactive. Because [incidents in the community] are hard on them, hard on their classmates and hard on their teacher. It’s traumatic for everyone. When they get older, those negative coping skills lead to the smoking, the drinking, the drug use. If we give them positive skills now ... those are life skills they’ll use forever.”
This community has recognized, and put into practice, what research increasingly shows is clear: social emotional development is essential to long-term wellbeing and success.
In fact, building social emotional skills in students as young as kindergartners can have long-term benefits, not just for the students themselves but for society as a whole.
Every dollar invested in effective social emotional programs in schools can bring an average of more than $11 in benefits in the long run.
These benefits come in a few different ways.
First of all, students with stronger social emotional skills tend to do better in school. One study of eighth grade students found that a measure of self-discipline—one aspect of social emotional development—was a better predictor of grades, school attendance, and admission into a competitive high school program than even IQ.
Secondly, social emotional development can help students graduate from college and land a well-paying job. Children who demonstrate greater social emotional skills as young as kindergarten are more likely to have graduated from college and hold a full-time job 20 years later. Adolescents with these skills earn more as adults.