I have served as a principal, therapist, school counselor, author of curricula aimed at increasing social emotional learning and a mom. One finding crossing these arenas is that kids who feel seen and heard at all times and who learn to use their voices and be visible in ways that work for them learn to be self-advocates, take more academic risks and work better in groups. In addition, they have a healthier self-concept and are better equipped to navigate the physical, emotional and intellectual changes of adolescence. Providing curriculum addressing academic concepts as well as social and emotional learning allows kids to be able to learn to take care of themselves, work with others and therefore learn more challenging concepts. Schools successfully teaching to the whole child recognize that their students are not simply repositories for facts and data but dynamic, nuanced and nimble human beings.
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