Teaching emotional skills to children is having some concrete benefits at one elementary school in the Los Angeles Unified district.
Six California public school districts are tracking social-emotional learning, and they are measuring school quality in their own way, rather than using the standards of the federal No Child Left Behind. The six districts belong to the California Office to Reform Education, otherwise known as the CORE districts. Student’s emotional development is viewed as being a crucial component of academic success.
In Winnetka, a program called Second Step is having an impact on even the youngest students.
“If you just use negative self-talk, it just makes those feelings stronger instead of calming things down,” says a third grader in Tammy Yu’s class. He was responding to a question of how a boy in an example should have acted when he wasn’t chosen for a classroom leadership role.
“This is a great program. Before, they didn’t know how to work together and solve problems,” Yu said. “It’s easier to solve a conflict with this program because they understand empathy and the words to say. It is working.”