Early social emotional skills are related to how socially, emotionally, academically and professionally skilled we are later in life. Having higher social-emotional skills in kindergarten is related to important outcomes at age 25 (Jones, Greenberg, & Crowley, 2015).

These outcomes include:

  • Educational success, such as completing a college degree

  • Career success, such as an increased likelihood of being employed

  • Other key life outcomes, such as being less likely to have problems with the police

Social-emotional skills help children to persist on challenging tasks, to effectively seek help when they need it and to be thoughtful in their actions.  - Why Children’s Social Emotional Skills are So Important - Psychology Today

What predicts your success in life? It’s not your I.Q. by Daniel Goleman

Social skills in kindergarten predict success Brief Excerpt: A kindergartner’s effectiveness in handling social and emotional experiences is a strong predictor of success in adulthood, according to a new study from the American Journal of Public Health. Children who in kindergarten are able to manage responsibilities and work well with others are more likely to graduate from high school on time and hold good jobs and stay out of trouble as adults.

Definition of social/emotional learning and the link between your emotional awareness and your ability to learn:  Social-Emotional Development Domain

Brief Excerpt: Brain research indicates that emotion and cognition are profoundly interrelated processes. Specifically, “recent cognitive neuroscience findings suggest that the neural mechanisms underlying emotion regulation may be the same as those underlying cognitive processes” (Bell and Wolfe 2004, 366). Emotion and cognition work together, jointly informing the child’s impressions of situations and influencing behavior. Most learning in the early years occurs in the context of emotional supports (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine 2000). “The rich interpenetrations of emotions and cognitions establish the major psychic scripts for each child’s life” (Panksepp 2001). Together, emotion and cognition contribute to attentional processes, decision making, and learning (Cacioppo and Berntson 1999). Furthermore, cognitive processes, such as decision making, are affected by emotion (Barrett and others 2007). Brain structures involved in the neural circuitry of cognition influence emotion and vice versa (Barrett and others 2007). Emotions and social behaviors affect the young child’s ability to persist in goal-oriented activity, to seek help when it is needed, and to participate in and benefit from relationships.

Yale University Research: Transforming Students’ Lives with Social and Emotional Learning

How educators and students process and respond to emotions influences children’s education in ways that affect their social, emotional, and cognitive development. A recent meta analysis of research on programs focused on social and emotional learning (SEL) shows that a systematic process for promoting students’ social and emotional development is the common element among schools that report an increase in academic success, improved quality of relationships between teachers and students, and a decrease in problem behavior (Durlak, Weissberg, Dymnicki, Taylor, & Schellinger, 2011). SEL can be especially powerful when grounded in theory and empirical evidence, and when adult stakeholders in children’s education are actively involved in cultivating and modeling their own social and emotional competencies (Brackett et al. 2009). As this chapter illustrates, SEL programming results in significant shifts in social, emotional, and academic competencies as well as improvements in the quality of learning environments.  There is growing recognition at the local, state, and federal levels in the United States (US) and around the world that schools must meet the social and emotional developmental needs of students for effective teaching and learning to take place and for students to reach their full potential (http://casel.org/research/sel-in-your-state/). Efforts to promote SEL in schools align with the views of leading economists who have been calling for a greater focus on what have been traditionally referred to as “soft” skills. Nobel Laureate, James Heckman, has written that the greatest returns on education investments are “from nurturing children's non-cognitive skills, giving them social, emotional and behavioral benefits that lead to success later in life…” (Heckman & Masterov, 2004). Heckman argues that investing in emotion skills is a cost effective approach to increasing the quality and productivity of the workforce through fostering workers’ motivation, perseverance, and self-control. As increasing efforts move toward better preparing youth to enter and contribute to a competitive and global workforce, epidemiological evidence suggests that the basic needs of youth still are not being met. For example, the incidence of emotional disturbances among youth in the US is widespread. Approximately one in five American adolescents experience problems with anxiety or depression (e.g., Benjamin, Costell, & Warren, 1990; Kessler & Walters, 1998) and prescribed antidepressants are being used at exceedingly high rates (Delate, Gelenberg, Simmons, & Motheral, 2004; Olfson & Marcus, 2009). Adolescents with a history of anxiety and depression are more likely to engage in risky and maladaptive behaviors such as using illicit drugs, withdrawing from friends, disconnecting from school, and bullying classmates (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA], 2005). Youth in the U.S. are more likely to experience intimidation or verbal abuse from peers at school compared to those in other developed countries (e.g., England, Italy, Japan; Miller, Malley, & Owen, 2009), and recent trends show that 28% of students aged 12-18 years report being victims of bullying (DeVoe & Murphy, 2011). These behaviors are problematic, threatening the physical and psychological health of youth, diminishing their ability to engage in learning and in society, and underscoring the need for SEL programming

Contemplative Practices and Mental Training: Prospects for American Education

Brief Excerpt:  Ideas drawn from contemplative practices that promise to improve the regulation of attention, emotion and motivation, social cognition and behavior are one potential strategy for reducing the risks children face and improving both social and academic outcomes through the schools today. A growing body of evidence in adults highlights the benefits of these practices in the regulation of attention and emotion, in cultivating empathy, and in altering brain function and structure to support these behavioral changes. However, there is a paucity of methodologically rigorous research confirming that such programs can positively impact children’s developmental trajectories. In concluding their recent report on relations between childhood self-control and adult outcomes, Moffitt et al., (2011) suggest that “Interventions addressing self-control might reduce a panoply of societal costs, save taxpayers money and promote prosperity.” By conducting methodologically rigorous evaluations, the emerging field concerned with research on contemplative practices, education, developmental science, cognitive science, and neuroscience may come to a clearer understanding of whether, when, how, and for whom such practices can have substantial impact.

Toward the Integration of Education and Mental Health in Schools

Brief Excerpt: Education and mental health integration will be advanced when the goal of mental health includes effective schooling and the goal of effective schools includes the healthy functioning of students. To build a solid foundation for this reciprocal agenda, especially within the zeitgeist of recent educational reforms, a change in the fundamental framework within which school mental health is conceptualized is needed. This change involves acknowledging a new set of priorities, which include: the use of naturalistic resources within schools to implement and sustain effective supports for students' learning and emotional/behavioral health; inclusion of integrated models to enhance learning and promote health; attention to improving outcomes for all students, including those with serious emotional/ behavioral needs; and strengthening the active involvement of parents. A strong research agenda to support these new priorities is essential.

This change involves acknowledging the use of naturalistic resources within schools to implement and sustain effective supports for students' learning and emotional/behavioral health; inclusion of integrated models to enhance learning and promote health; the need for improved outcomes for all students, including those with serious emotional/behavioral needs; and the importance of strengthening the active involvement of parents. A research agenda to align with these priorities is described.

Why Social and Emotional Learning Is Essential for Students

Brief Excerpt: Today's schools are increasingly multicultural and multilingual with students from diverse social and economic backgrounds. Educators and community agencies serve students with different motivation for engaging in learning, behaving positively, and performing academically. Social and emotional learning (SEL) provides a foundation for safe and positive learning, and enhances students' ability to succeed in school, careers, and life.  Building Family and Community Partnerships

Family and community partnerships can strengthen the impact of school approaches to extending learning into the home and neighborhood. Community members and organizations can support classroom and school efforts, especially by providing students with additional opportunities to refine and apply various SEL skills (Catalano et al., 2004).

How Trauma Affects Kids in School

Brief Excerpt: Traumatized children often have trouble managing strong emotions. As babies and toddlers, children learn to calm and soothe themselves by being calmed and soothed by the adults in their lives, Dr. Howard notes. If they haven’t had that experience, because of neglect, “that lack of a soothing, secure attachment system contributes to their chronic dysregulation.”

In the classroom, teachers need to support and coach these children in ways to calm themselves and manage their emotions. “We need to be partners in managing their behavior,” Dr. Rappaport explains. “Co-regulation comes before self-regulation. We need to help them get the control they need to change the channel when they’re upset.”  They need coaching and practice at de-escalating when they feel overwhelmed, she adds.

How Self-Compassion Supports Academic Motivation and Emotional Wellness

When a student develops self-compassion, the seat of motivation shifts.  Since internal value doesn’t depend on external achievement, it frees students up to experiment, take risks and try new paths.  “Self-compassion leads to learning goals instead of performance goals — such as trying again after messing up,” said Neff. “It’s a better academic motivator than self-criticism. It’s a motivation of care instead of a motivation of fear.”  

Neff said that there is an empirical link between self-compassion and growth mindset (the belief that intelligence is malleable and responsive to effort). Research shows that students who adopt a growth mindset thrive on challenges, show resilience in the face of obstacles and view failure as part of the learning process. Both self-compassion and growth mindset are robust responses to the inevitable ups and downs of life. “When we are self-compassionate, we remind ourselves ‘I am a human and the human condition is imperfect for all of us,’ ” said Neff.

Mindfulness in the Classroom: Learning from a School-based Mindfulness Intervention through the Boston Charter Research Collaborative: Harvard

How Making Time for Mindfulness Helps Students

A new study suggests that mindfulness education — lessons on techniques to calm the mind and body — can reduce the negative effects of stress and increase students’ ability to stay engaged, helping them stay on track academically and avoid behavior problems.

Creating Learning Goals Vs. Performance Goals:  Choosing how to look at goals matters

How To Define Goals Education in Grow Strong Roots:

A Social/Cognitive Approach to Motivation and Personality Dr. Carol Dweck

Why the Grow Strong Roots Program supports purpose-based education

How to Help Students Apply SEL to Their Real Life

Why Teachers Need Social Emotional Skills

Why It Important to go beyond “mindful minutes/moments” that are not integrated into learning and why Grow Strong Roots weaves them in:

Research Stories From Harvard Graduate School Of Education:  Teaching Social and Emotional Skills All Day

Brief Excerpt:  Educators are recognizing that these skills — often called “social and emotional” skills — are inextricably intertwined with the academic skills. Nine out of 10 teachers believe that social emotional skills can and should be taught. But four out of five want more support to address their students’ social emotional development. How do teachers catch up their practices with what they know is possible?  A new report from the Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development draws on a large volume of research on social-emotional learning, three new research reports written over the last two years, as well as surveys with parents, students, and teachers — all generating new recommendations for teaching the whole child and for supporting the academic, social, and emotional wellbeing of students. It will take significant system-wide and school-wide changes to make sure every child gets this kind of holistic education; teachers cannot do that work alone.

Keys To Academic Success=Emotional Regulation, Grit (growth mindset) and being aware of yourself and others.  All components of Grow Strong Roots Program.

Yale University Research: Predicting school success: Comparing Conscientiousness, Grit, and Emotion Regulation Ability

Brief Excerpt: As predicted, Conscientiousness, Grit and ERA had significant correlations with school outcome

Information of Brain Architecture in the developing child:

Early brain development research review and update


Harvard University Center For The Developing Child:  Experiences Build Brain Architecture

Mindfulness and the connection to Self-Regulation  

UC Berkeley

Can Mindfulness Help Kids Learn Self-Control?

Child Mind Center

How Can We Help Kids With Self-Regulation?

Psychology Today

Meditation Can Make You Smarter and Happier

American Psychological Association

What are the benefits of mindfulness