Valuing Social Emotional Development to Support Learning

Social Emotional Learning

Why is the social emotional development of a child as important as their academic development?

This question considers the learner both from the outside perspective and from the inside needs of the child. A learner needs to know themselves, feel good about themselves to be able to respond to learning and take action. In order to capitalise on their academic learning they also need learning experiences that supports them in developing their ability to manage themselves socially and emotionally.

From the inside it is crucial that families and educators nurture and ensure their child’s sense of themselves internally. A learner full of fear, low self esteem, a negative sense of themselves is unable to reach their potential and access knowledge and use skills as they don’t feel worthy, or fearful or don’t trust themselves. It is our job to build them up and to help them feel confident and able to take risks with strategy and understanding. Otherwise, despite capabilities, they will struggle to reach their potential. No matter what documented competency tests a child has done to prove their potential, they can only achieve this if they have a strong sense of well being and connectedness. Hence, families and educators have a responsibility to nurture them and more importantly equip them with strategies for handling the challenging social emotional aspects of life.

In the school context it is important that educators and the school community can be creating an environment to support and teach children to develop their social and emotional skills. This support learners in developing tolerance and to recognise how they can develop essential skills to connect and manage their own well being. Therefore allowing them to pursue academic excellence with more freedom.

This is not only about supporting learners in their individual journey. This also refers to the social and global development of the world. The UN Sustainable Development Goals require our learners to develop these skills in order to take action and work collaboratively to find global solutions. In the same context the World Economic Forum has identified specific social emotional skills as key skills to be successful members of the future work force. This shows an individual purpose and social context for learners to have the ability to self manage and nurture as well as the social context of having empathy and being highly connected and collaborative.

Recognising the impact of social emotional learning experiences and understanding the need to acknowledge, support and teach strategies are as crucial as the knowledge and skills a child learns. Their social emotional traits are what allow them to use, respond and apply their knowledge and skills to learning. Hence we all need to value this aspect of a child’s development.

Additional links about social and emotional development and learning:

Comprehending the social emotional development of a child

When does profound learning occur?


Hard thinking about soft skills

Hard Thinking About Soft Skills