FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Social and emotional learning skills are being honored and celebrated this week at East Allen County Schools. This is the second annual International Social Emotional Learning Day for the district.

Today Mayor Tom Henry and New Haven Mayor Steve McMichael are recognizing the day. Last year, due to the pandemic adjustments had to be made. This day focuses on building bonds and reimagining community. Social and emotional learning has been part of East Allen County School district since 2019.

Molly Bernard EACS Social and Emotional Learning Coach says,”this day is more important than ever. We have been working on social emotional learning in EACS for the last couple of years so it was really important for us to bring awareness to the whole community. We want to go beyond the classroom and spread it out into the community because it really is important for all of us.”

This skill develops children and adults to learn and understand how to manage emotions, set positive goals, feel and show empathy to others, establish and maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions. The district has dedicated social and emotional learning coaches to help staff by providing professional development so that these skills can impact and influence the students that are in the district.

Studies show that adults who learn about these skills report higher job satisfaction, effectiveness and overall well being. Being intentional about this kind of learning benefits students not only in the classroom but for the rest of their lives.

Heather Hunley, EACS Social Emotional Learning Coach says ,”the research shows that if you have explicit social emotional learning programs in kindergarten, even if you never had it again if you just had it in kindergarten, that that child is more likely to graduate from high school and college or post secondary, they’re more likely to have higher lifetime earnings to have stable employment to have less substance abuse throughout their lifetime.”