It often looks like a classic case of not seeing the forest for the trees.
School curricula typically favor teaching kids ‘applied knowledge.’ This is the type of knowledge that can easily be tested and graded. But this tunnel approach often backfires later when graduates enter the workforce. According to the recruiting firm THE PRINCIPLE GROUP, such ‘soft skills’ as effective problem solving, time management and collaboration – skills that are given less of a priority in their curricula – are among the top eight skills that hiring managers value in 2022.
The non-academic ingredients for success are all teachable life skills that Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum provides. Otherwise known as EQ or Emotional Intelligence, these skills are measurable and deemed critical for creating a successful workforce, notes the National Network of Business and Industry Associations. Still just a small fraction of schools, less than 30%, include comprehensive SEL training in their curriculum.
Increasing the number of schools implementing comprehensive SEL by just one percent means approximately 400,000 more kids gaining critical skills for success in school, work, relationships, and life.
EQuip Our Kids! to the Rescue
EQuip Our Kids!, a national nonprofit campaign, has taken the lead in raising awareness about addressing this vacuum. We recognize that parents and businesses can be important partners in advocating for the adoption of SEL curriculum which this nonprofit aims to include in every preK – 12 classroom by 2030.
To help jump start those conversations with key school contacts, EQuip Our Kids! is now offering a free downloadable school engagement kit for parents, loaded with conversation starters and all the talking points needed to start those discussions that can influence decision-makers at the adminstration as well as teacher level to consider the critical benefits of including SEL training into their total curriculum.
Parents can also help their children continue to hone these SEL skills at home by taking advantage of EQuip Our Kids! weekly parenting tips.
Patricia Kutza is a partner (with Connie Payne) in DGMS & Co. Their company offers books and workshops based on social and emotional learning principles to schools, labor workforce units and senior living communities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.