We tend to emphasize academic preparation with children. Often little effort is put into teaching kids the emotional skills that they need to succeed in life. Knowing how to combat stress and take care of their feelings are key components to living a successful life.
There is a strong correlation between students' emotional intelligence their classroom behavior and overall academic success. Students with low emotional intelligence may struggle to have relationships with their peers, to focus or may even show aggressive behavior.
These behavior problems usually surface in preschool or early elementary school. They tend to increase in seriousness from that point on.
Many people expect children to learn emotional regulation simply from observing family dynamics, by participating in school, church, and community activities. For many children however, this is simply not the case.
Preschools and elementary schools that integrate emotional intelligence programs reap very real benefits. Developing emotional intelligence improves the overall environment in the classroom, making it easier for teachers to teach and students to learn. Research has shown that incorporating these programs into the classroom improves learning outcomes and reduces anxiety and behavioral problems among students.
According to studies at The University of Illinois at Chicago and Loyola University, students who participated in SEL ( social and emotional learning ) programs graduated from college at a rate 11 percent higher and from high school at a rate six percent higher. Additionally, drug use and behavior problems were six percent lower for SEL program participants, arrest rates 19 percent lower, and diagnoses of mental health disorders 13.5 percent lower.
Social-emotional learning programs are so critical because they provide students with skills to help them succeed later in life. They teach children how to recognize and understand their emotions, feel empathy, make decisions, and build and maintain relationships. They also have an ongoing benefit for the children that can last many years to come.
It is clear that teaching these skills shouldn’t be seen as something beyond academic achievement, but in fact a technique that may provide both a boost to academic results at school, and the important social and emotional literacy required to succeed in adulthood.
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