Category: Data/News

March 7, 2022 by Julia Levy 0 Comments

What is Social and Emotional Learning?

Two years into the pandemic, my second grader told me he’d like to plan a playdate with a friend from school. A minute later he asked, “But what do kids DO when they go over to each other’s apartments?” For us, pandemic life is now “normal” and the regular parts of growing up — from hugs to playdates — are not. And, as a parent, I join parents around the world wondering what the long-term impact of these years will be on my own children and how we can help kids bounce back from this time. 

During the pandemic, children missed out on many parts of “normal” life. For most parents, the top worry is their children’s exposure to a broad group of skills called “social and emotional development.” Skipping two years of play dates, for example, has ME worried about my child’s ability to relate to others, work together, and solve problems as a team. 

At the start of the 2021-22 school year, six in ten U.S. parents said their top concern for the coming school year is their child’s social and emotional wellness, about double the percentage of parents who voiced concerns about their children’s academic learning (source). 

So, what is social and emotional development? Why does it matter? And how can educators and parents prioritize it right now? Learn more in our new infographic about social and emotional learning. 

Big Heart SEL InfoGraphic (800 x 2800 px)

49th Annual PDK Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. Academic achievement isn’t the only mission: Americans overwhelmingly support investments in career preparation, personal skills. Kappan magazine supplement, PDK, September, 2017.

Clive Belfield, Brooks Bowden, Alli Klapp, Henry Levin, Robert Shand, Sabine Zander. The Economic Value of Social and Emotional LearningCenter for Benefit-Cost Studies in Education Teachers College, Columbia University, February, 2015.

Julie Cohen, Ngozi Onunaku, Steffanie Clothier, and Julie Poppe. Helping Young Children Succeed: Strategies to Promote Early Childhood Social and Emotional DevelopmentZero to Three, 2005.

Emma DornBryan HancockJimmy Sarakatsannis, and Ellen Viruleg. COVID-19 and education: The lingering effects of unfinished learning. McKinsey & Company, July 27, 2021. 

Joseph Drulak, Roger Weissberg, Allison B. Dymincki and Rebecca Taylor, and Kriston B. Schellinger. The Impact of Enhancing Students’ Social and Emotional Learning: An Analysis of School-Based Universal Interventions. Child Development, January/February 2011.)

Susan D. Hillis et al. COVID-19-Associated Orphanhood and Caregiver Death in the United States. Pediatrics, December 1, 2021.

Damon E. JonesMark Greenberg, and Max Crowley. Early Social-Emotional Functioning and Public Health: The Relationship Between Kindergarten Social Competence and Future Wellness. American Journal of Public Health, October, 2015.

Stephanie M. Jones, Emily J. Doolittle et al. The Future of Children. Social and Emotional Learning. Princeton, Brookings, Volume 27, Number 1, Spring 2017.

McGraw Hill 2021 SEL Survey. 2021 Social and Emotional Learning Report. McGraw Hill, 2021.

Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A. U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory: Protecting Youth Mental Health. December, 2021.

National Scientific Council on the Developing Child.  Establishing a Level Foundation for Life: Mental Health Begins in Early Childhood: Working Paper 6. Updated Edition, 2008/2012.

Paul Terefenko. Q&A With Paul Tough: Environment Matters for Student Success. EducationWeek, June 30, 2016.

Roger Weissberg. Promoting the Social and Emotional Learning of Millions of School Children. Perspectives on Psychological Science, January 18, 2019.

Roger Weissberg. Why Social and Emotional Learning is Essential for Students. Edutopia, Feb. 15, 2016.

June 2, 2021 by Makeda Mays Green 3 Comments

How to Reintegrate Kids into A Diverse Post-Pandemic World

Makeda Spaking

The Covid-19 pandemic unleashed a global health crisis and exposed racial disparities, which, in many ways, heightened ongoing conversations about the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Now — after an unprecedented year marked by physical distancing and social unrest — parents are wondering how to effectively help their children return to a sense of “normalcy” and reconnect with others. As parents work to support this return, what’s “normal” has shifted: the national discussion of what matters is significantly different from pre-pandemic.

According to a recent social discourse analysis that my team and I conducted at Nickelodeon, concerns about children’s social and emotional health during Covid-19 is the second leading topic of conversation among parents of 2- to 5-year-old children (more than 130% higher than last year). This topic is only eclipsed by diversity (which grew by 2022% year over year), with an emphasis from parents on what they can do to raise awareness. That is not a typo — parents’ conversation about diversity has grown by more than two thousand percent.

Helping Children Leave the Family Bubble and Build Diverse Relationships

With the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement and a growing national focus on bias against the Asian American and Pacific Islander and Jewish communities, parents flocked online in the past year to learn more about how to raise their children to be more racially sensitive and accepting. Our research showed that white parents, in particular, are invested in ways to teach their children about racial diversity. Parents of color, meanwhile, are invested in looking for resources that showcase empowering portrayals of people who look like them.

Overall, parents across racial and ethnic groups are expressing a general interest in helping their kids develop healthy relationships with diverse individuals. As families physically isolated during the pandemic, kids spent more time with people of shared backgrounds and perspectives. As social restrictions now begin to lift around the country (albeit at different rates), parents say they are looking for rich opportunities to foster inclusivity and celebrate similarities and differences.  

Black Lives Matter
Help Your Kids Get Ready to Rejoin Our Diverse World

Based on my experience as a researcher and a mom, here are five ways to support children’s social and emotional development and help to reintegrate them into the diverse world in which we live:

  1. Try meals from different cultures

Visit ethnically diverse restaurants, or search for recipes of meals typically served in different countries to try authentic cuisine inspired by culinary traditions from around the world.

  1. Visit cultural museums

Take trips to local and national museums that introduce children to cultural icons and influences. For example, consider visiting the National Museum of African-American Music in Nashville, TN, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center in Washington, D.C. or the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, CA. (If you’re still visiting museums virtually, there are many ways to explore art and culture online. Google Arts & Culture is a great place to start.)

  1. Read diverse books

Visit the library and select a variety of material (e.g., graphic novels, comic books, fiction, and nonfiction) about people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives to give children a well-rounded view of the many people and places that make up our world. First Book is sharing tips with Big Heart World on how to build a more diverse and inclusive home or classroom library and is sharing some titles that you might consider

  1. Attend art festivals

Spend time at outdoor festivals to experience paintings, sculptures, music, and dances that celebrate different cultural events and traditions.

  1. Support international kids’ film festivals

Attend kids’ film festivals that feature uplifting storylines and empowering portrayals of diverse characters, including BIPOC leads, in short and long-form films. If there aren’t any kids’ film festivals near you, curate your own at home using titles from other recent kids’ film festivals like this.

March 16, 2021 by admin 0 Comments

Covid’s Impact on Children


Sixty-one percent of American parents are concerned about their children’s social development during Covid-19. This is approximately the same as the percentage of parents who are worried that their children’s education will be negatively affected (62%). (Source: National Parents Union and American Enterprise Institute, June 2020)

“We are facing a national mental health crisis that could yield serious health and social consequences for years to come.” (Source: American Psychological Association, Oct. 2020)

Nearly 93% of Households With School-Age Children Report Some Form of Distance Learning During COVID-19 (Source: Census)

61% of U.S. households with children report facing serious financial problems during COVID-19. (Source: NPR/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health poll, September 2020)

Nearly half of parents (48%) said the level of stress in their life has increased compared with before the pandemic. More than 3 in 5 parents with children who are still home for remote learning (62%) said the same. (Source: American Psychological Association: Stress in America: One Year Later, a New Wave of Pandemic Health Concerns, March 2021)

The Economic Impacts of Learning Losses by Eric A Hanushek and Ludger Woessmann (Source: Economic Impacts of Covid-19, OECD, November 2020)

“Children and adolescents are more likely to experience high rates of depression and most likely anxiety during and after enforced isolation ends.” (Source: The Impact of Social Isolation and Loneliness on the Mental Health of Children and Adolescents in the Context of COVID-19, Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, November 2020)