Committee for Children Blog

Together We Create a Better Tomorrow with Social-Emotional Development

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SEL pyramid, social-emotional development

It’s clear: Social-emotional learning (SEL) is on the rise. More school administrators, educators, students, and parents than ever are seeing the dramatic improvements in social-emotional development, behavior, school climate, and performance that implementing an evidence-based SEL curriculum can provide.

And as awareness has grown, our flagship Second Step curriculum has evolved. We’ve harnessed new research, input from educators who understand the importance of educating the whole child, and new technology to benefit you and the students you serve.

“At first, I thought ‘Second Step’ was going to be just another program we had to learn what wouldn’t work well. Then, when we started it this year with a co-teaching model, it was phenomenal.”

-Terie Stevenson, Fith-Grade Teacher, Carpentersville, IL

A Positive Difference Since 1979

Committee for Children has been creating educational programs for nearly 40 years, piloting and testing rigorously in classrooms, completing diligent research, and always striving to develop easy-to-teach materials while delivering phenomenal, palpable results. When you step into a Second Step school, you can feel the difference. You’ll witness respectful hallway conversations, see students resolving problems on their own, and hear a common language spoken by students and staff. What’s the secret? Second Step lessons plus schoolwide reinforcement and support.

Administrator support at the school and district levels is critical for success of an SEL implementation, and research shows principal support is the most important factor in implementation quality. Our all-staff trainings and Principal Toolkits help busy leaders get buy-in from staff, set expectations, and infuse Second Step skills throughout daily school interactions. For district leaders, we offer an annual Second Step Leadership Institute, support in finding SEL funding, and a coordinated suite of programs to serve PreK–Grade 8 students with a universal curriculum.

Educators—from newcomers to veterans—see the difference the Second Step Program makes in their classrooms. They report improvements in student behavior, fewer office referrals, and even feeling increased empowerment and job satisfaction. Second Step lessons strike just the right balance: they’re scripted enough and so intuitively designed that they can be taught with little to no prep, yet they’re adaptable enough to be customized for a school’s unique challenges or an educator’s own teaching style. And product features, such as lesson and media streaming, Spanish materials, and resources that extend learning beyond the lessons, help the program keep pace with modern classrooms.

Families can help with social-emotional development at home by reinforcing what’s taught at school and providing their children with opportunities to put those skills and concepts into practice outside the classroom. To help, we’ve recently expanded beyond the Take-Home Activities and Family Letters educators depend on to offer additional free resources, such as Mind Yeti, EarlyOpenOften.org, and ParenTeenConnect.org.

Students learn, grow, and thrive with relevant learning opportunities. The Second Step Program draws students in and builds their interest with authentic, engaging, and interactive lessons. The discussion-based Middle School Program includes the Real Voices videos and lots of opportunities for student interaction, so teens don’t just receive lessons—they engage with them. In younger grades, students look forward to daily Brain Builders that get them up and moving and songs that help them remember key skills long after the lesson has ended.

“My favorite thing about ‘Second Step’ is I get to interact with my classmates and we get to have fun learning new things.”

-Nadina, Sixth-Grade Student
Boston, MA