Social Emotional Learning

Social Emotional Learning

“Daycare effects on school performance”

Yesterday I read an article in the Child Psychology Research Blog about the importance of daycare: “Is daycare good for my child? Daycare effects on school performance”.

To those of us who have worked with young children and who have studied Early Childhood Education and Child Psychology, that is not really a new finding. What surprised me, however, was that the research discussed by Nestor Lopez-Duran, PhD, found that the impact on academic learning really happens between children whose parents do not have a lot of schooling. In other words, children from families with a history of higher education apparently do not benefit as much – the research found no significant academic difference between those who attended daycare and those who did not.

Having taught in Early Childhood settings and having worked as a child psychoanalyst, however, I see the theme from another perspective as well, a perspective that is becoming increasingly acknowledged among those who care about education.

“Making peace”

On the end-of-school-year issue of Instructor Magazine, Samantha Cleaver revealed a new trend in public schools around the United States: teaching social and emotional learning skills. According to her, schools are beginning to realize behavior problems often decrease when time is systematically dedicated to helping children deal with conflicts, with the added benefit of also increasing overall learning and test scores – which is the key to motivate policy makers to adhere to any idea related to education.
Cleaver found and talked with a number of people involved in movements, associations, and organizations who promote, teach and offer guidance in Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). Even some states, like Illinois, begin to include SEL in their teaching standards.

What I think

As I read all about how children are taught to interpret intentions and feelings through illustrations in stories so they can relate to others, how they learn to problem-solve rather than ignore a conflict, and how language and communication play an important part on the whole SEL process, I could not help but think: THAT’s what we teach in Preschool!!!
Now, circling back to the beginning of this article, when I mention Dr. Lopez-Duran’s discussion: The research found that the largest impact of Preschool on ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT was in children whose parents had less formal education. I wonder, however, if there is research on SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING and Preschool. I risk to say it makes a huge difference, unrelated to parents’ educational background.



Cleaver, S. (2010). Making peace: Why social and emotional learning has to come first. Instructor. Scholastic:New York.
Lopez-Duran, N (2010). Day care and school readiness. Retrieved from

Response to "Social Emotional Learning"

  • I tried so hard to be a SAHM but I just couldn’t do it. I’m deitnfiely a working mom through and through (especially now that Ellie is 10 and in school all day). I truly wish I could have stayed at home. Being a mom (no matter what) is hard work!!!

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