By Sam Piha
All children and youth need social-emotional and character skills in order to thrive in school, work, and life. A broad body of research substantiates that academic ability works in tandem with social-emotional and character skills to support young people’s success in the 21st Century. Young people need to be able to assess their own skills and behaviors, work with others, and persist when faced with challenges. We want our youth, as they reach adulthood, to be well-prepared for productive careers and as socially conscious, engaged citizens.
To get there, they need to succeed in school and that means mastering the complex and demanding new learning goals embodied in the Common Core standards. By their design and structure, high-quality expanded learning programs provide valuable opportunities for children and youth to develop social-emotional and character skills. Families with sufficient resources spend freely to provide these opportunities through private lessons, summer camps, and special programs. California’s unparalleled expanded learning infrastructure makes similar experiences accessible to young people whose parents wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford them.
We believe expanded learning and school day programs can and must work together to ensure that our investments result in real and equitable gains in young people’s success. They can do this by consistently and coherently prioritizing students’ social-emotional learning and character development. Read it now.
Sam Piha is the founder and principal of Temescal Associates, a consulting group dedicated to building the capacity of leaders and organizations in education and youth development.