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Social-emotional learning is top of mind

With the pandemic isolating kids, parents and educators are seeing a heightened need for social and emotional skill-building, according to a new study.
September 28, 2021

Parents and teachers are focusing on social-emotional learning more than ever before. According to a new survey from publisher McGraw Hill, 94% of educators are aware of the concept and its value for kids, compared to 83% in 2018.

US schools have also started teaching kids how to manage their emotions, maintain healthy relationships and make empathetic decisions, according to the “2021 Social and Emotional Learning Report.” One-third of US schools (34%) currently have social-emotional learning programs in place, compared to just 16% in 2018.

The importance of these skills has taken center stage for educators and parents as a result of the pandemic. Teachers are reporting an increased need for kids to learn self- and social-awareness, relationship-building, self-management and responsible decision-making after extended periods of online learning have eroded these capabilities.

And parents, who have had to take on home-schooling duties in the last year, are also eager for their kids to rebuild these skills. According to this year’s study,, 62% feel that social-emotional learning is very important, compared to 55% in 2018. Most (81%) believe it isn’t emphasized in school as strongly as it should be, and 82% say these skills have become far more important since the pandemic began.

Some kids entertainment companies are leaning into the core values of social-emotional learning to meet this demand from parents and teachers. For its part, Cartoon Network has put “human-centric learning” at the center of its new Cartoonito preschool block. The kidsnet’s aim  is to teach kids empathy, respect, fairness and how to celebrate themselves through the block’s content. And First Media, the company behind preschool network BabyFirst, is rolling out a new show for preschoolers that will teach some of these social and life skills.

Hanover Research conducted McGraw Hill’s survey online in July 2021 with roughly 700 US educators, administrators and parents.

Photo by Shawnee D on Unsplash

About The Author
News editor for Kidscreen. Ryan covers tech, talent and general kids entertainment news, with a passion for kids rap content and video games. Have a story that's of interest to Kidscreen readers? Contact Ryan at



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