In their separate domains, educators and parents both understand the importance of social-emotional skills — that the ability to manage emotions, to empathize, and to collaborate is key to fulfillment and success, in school and in life. But schools and families are not always in sync on how to develop those competencies. As schools implement large-scale, research-backed SEL curricula, caregivers at home often have little guidance on how to help their children become resilient, mindful, and kind.
Consistency is key when it comes to building these skills, according to developmental psychologist Stephanie Jones of the EASEL Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. When schools and families have shared behavioral expectations and a common language for social and emotional skills, it can be “easier for kids to transition smoothly and be successful across multiple settings with many different adults,” she says.
Jones and her research team helped us compile advice on how schools can involve families in their SEL programming — and how families can apply those same practices and skills at home.