Committee for Children Blog

Welcome Wave of Change: Positive Discipline and SEL in Schools

I bet you can easily conjure up an image of a school teacher rapping the knuckles of a naughty girl with a ruler. Or a principal paddling the bottom of a boisterous boy. For a long time, this was how students were disciplined in school. They were physically punished with rulers, straps, paddles, or hands. Or shamed by being made to stand in the corner, wear a dunce cap, or write lines on the board. Perhaps you think these harsh, punitive discipline practices are a relic of a past, something we now only see in old movies or on episodes of The Simpsons. But in 19 states it’s still legal to use corporal punishment in schools.1 And since the late 1980s, zero-tolerance policies have resulted in thousands of students being excluded from schools, their right to an education stripped away for infractions sometimes as minor as chewing gum.

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Talking About Tough Topics with Tweens: Part 1 of 2

Talking about tough topics, in addition to being an excellent tongue-twister, is a skill every parent needs to master, or at least muddle through. As someone who once found the perfect moment to talk about sex with her five and eight year old children after hearing an NPR story about drive-up windows for boar semen (“What are they even talking about, Mom?”), I am a big fan of seizing natural opportunities. Of course, sometimes those opportunities don’t come soon enough, and we need to nudge them along.… Read More


Book review: Talk About Touch

by Sandra Kleven. Illustrated by Patrick Minock

Reading Level: Preschool–Grade 2

Set in a traditional Alaska Native village, Talk About Touch is an exceptionally gentle, caring story about children and parents talking about personal safety and, in particular, sexual abuse. Eric is a young boy whose father, while working with him on their snowmobile, broaches…

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Train Your Staff, Protect Your Students

By Tonje Molyneux & Matt Pearsall

Awareness about the issue of child abuse and neglect is on the rise, both among educators and the general public. This increase in awareness is good news for children who may be suffering from abuse or neglect. State and local governments across the United States are drafting new laws to help protect children. Many of these initiatives—such as Read More


back to school

Create a Safe and Supportive School with SEL

By Tonje Molyneux

It’s that time of year again. Kids are heading back to school after a summer off. It’s time to buckle down and get back to the business of learning, but are they ready? What kind of learning environment do students need to be ready to learn?

Safety and support are important for learning…

In answer to that question, research points to a safe and…… Read More


Safety Built on SEL

by Tonje Molyneux

Thousands of students carrying backpacks stream into schools every day. They come to school to learn. And we rely on the adults who staff these schools to ensure that every child leaves them with the education and experience he or she needs to become a healthy, productive adult. The reality is that some children bring more to school with them in their backpacks than last night's homework. These children come weighed down by the effects of…

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classroom climate, K-5, early learning, middle school, positive

Key Factors in Creating a Positive Classroom Climate

I’ve been hearing a lot about “positive classroom climate.” What does this mean?

Classroom climate refers to the prevailing mood, attitudes, standards, and tone that you and your students feel when they are in your classroom.  A negative classroom climate can feel hostile, chaotic, and out of control. A positive classroom climate feels safe, respectful,…… Read More


Book Review: The Brand New Kid

by Katie Couric
Reading level: Preschool–Grade 2

Second-grader Lazlo S. Gasky seems different from the other kids at Brookhaven School. His white-blond hair sticks up all over, his vivid blue eyes and super-pink lips stand out against his pale complexion, his accent sounds “strange” to the other students, and he is brand new to his class (perhaps one of the most “different” traits possible in…… Read More