Snapshot: Social-Emotional Learning Professional Learning Community

Overall Goal

The Social-Emotional Learning Professional Learning Community (PLC) will explore best practices in supporting social-emotional skill development for children from birth through 3rd grade. The PLC will create a catalog of resources for teachers and families to help better support development of this crucial skill set.

Rationale

Teachers and families are better equipped to support social-emotional skill development when they have an array of age-specific strategies at their disposal.

Approach

  1. The group viewed and discussed videos showing social-emotional development from toddler through 3rd grade.
  2. The PLC created a continuum of resources for social-emotional skill development from birth through 3rd grade.
  3. Members shared their current teaching practices and social-emotional curricula.

Results

Through monthly discussions, the PLC discovered that there are many commonalities with social-emotional learning across all ages and grades. For example:

  1. Teachers and family advocates must immediately focus on children’s emotional development to ensure that children trust and feel safe enough in their environment to learn from the activities, opportunities and experiences offered. Teachers and family advocates must think first about what they do or say and how it impacts each child‘s emotional development.
  2. Everything taught to students must be shared with parents/families. The way teachers interact with children will affect the way children interact with other important people in their lives.
  3. Developing social-emotional competence and skills should be a never-ending process; there is a strong focus on social-emotional development in early childhood, but it often receives less attention after kindergarten.
  4. Children’s behavior continues to be an issue that is directly related to their social-emotional development, which in turn challenges children’s capacities for learning.
  5. Addressing children’s social-emotional needs is key to effective classroom management.  Teachers should continue to keep social-emotional development as a strong focus while juggling academic demands.
  6. The Devereux Early Childhood Assessment Program (DECA for infants, toddlers and preschoolers and DESSA for kindergarten to 8th grade) dovetails with the Illinois State Social-Emotional Learning Standards, which support alignment.

Resources