We know from brain science that early cognitive and social-emotional skills are interactive and woven together - like strands of a rope. When woven together, these strands form the basis of a child’s capacity to learn. That’s why the Healthy Readers Team identified social-emotional development as one of seven critical health determinants of children’s early school success.
In 2014, nine communities in Connecticut, seven in the GLR network, assessed their resources and explored researched-based strategies to link supports for social-emotional and literacy skills as part of the Connecticut Peer Learning Pilot on Social-Emotional Development that CGLR developed in partnership with the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP). Sheila Smith, from NCCP and I co-led the peer learning initiative.
A new report from the The Child Health and Development Institute of Connecticut (CHDI) builds on the peer learning experience, explores the interplay between young children's social-emotional development and early literacy and language skills and seeks to accelerate actions by states and communities to advance children's school readiness, attendance and reading proficiency. The report, “Connecting Social and Emotional Health and Literacy: Critical for Early School Success,” highlights the strategies and tools used by the participating community coalitions from Bridgeport, Colchester, Danbury, Enfield, Norwalk, Torrington, Vernon, West Hartford, and Winchester. And it makes policy recommendations for Connecticut that are generally applicable to other states as well.
I hope you will check out the report and use its tools, strategies and policy recommendations to help low-income children in your states and communities make progress too. And share your experiences, challenges and suggestions as well. Here's a link to a one-page overview to get you started.