Social and Emotional Learning: What Is it and How Can it Help Kids?

Episode 129 · May 9th, 2022 · 28 mins 57 secs

About this Episode

During the pandemic, an increasing number of children and adolescents have reported struggling with anxiety and depression. How can we help them process their emotions and get the support they need? In this episode, Dr. Amanda Alexander and Dr. Jose Paez talk with host Suzanne McCabe about the role social and emotional learning (SEL) plays in the classroom and how it can foster the knowledge and skills kids need to thrive. Amanda and Jose also discuss how reading and storytelling can help children and families cope with the higher levels of stress and anxiety many are feeling.

“Across racial lines, across socioeconomic status, folks were dealing with a lot during the pandemic,” Amanda says. “We realized that we needed to tend to our mental health and well-being. The acknowledgement has led to meaningful conversations among educators and parents about the needs of our children.”

Amanda is the Chief Academic Officer at Scholastic, and Jose is a clinical fellow in child and adolescent psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center. They are part of the Yale Child Study Center – Scholastic Collaborative, a partnership that arose from a shared commitment to exploring how literacy can be used to foster resilience among children and families.

Advancing SEL: The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) provides resources to schools and statehouses to promote the understanding of SEL and SEL instruction.
Yale Child Study Center – Scholastic Collaborative: Learn how the Collaborative is developing ways to build child and family resilience.
SEL Resources: The editors of Scholastic Magazines+ have curated worksheets, letter-writing templates, and book recommendations for early-elementary and upper-elementary students.
Social and Emotional Learning Collections: Check out these book collections for primary and elementary school classrooms.

“Isn’t it important for all of us to be aware of ourselves, to be able to manage our emotions, to engage with others, and to make sound decisions?”
—Dr. Amanda Alexander, Chief Academic Officer, Scholastic

“The concept of literacy can also be translated into emotional literacy, helping kids put words to emotions. Books are a great avenue to do that.”
—Dr. Jose Paez, Clinical Fellow, Yale Child Study Center

“America is a democracy, and in a democracy, it’s important for citizens to be educated. We learn by reading books and forming our own opinions about matters and events in the past. That level of interpretation and judgment belongs to the reader as an individual in a democracy. The taking away of books, essentially, stops that process from happening.”
—Dr. Amanda Alexander, Chief Academic Officer, Scholastic

“I find myself talking about things such as race, gender identity, and sexual orientation a lot more openly and a lot more frequently during my sessions with children and parents alike.”
—Dr. Jose Paez, Clinical Fellow, Yale Child Study Center

Special Thanks:
Producer: Bridget Benjamin
Associate producer: Constance Gibbs
Sound engineer: Daniel Jordan
Music composer: Lucas Elliot Eberl

Coming Soon:
Celebrating AAPI Month With Authors Gita Varadarajan and Debbi Michiko Florence • Author Alex Gino Introduces Melissa • Summer Reading • Aaron Blabey and The Bad Guys