Why Early Childhood through Middle School Students?

There is evidence showing that that the same social and emotional skills that predict success in elementary school also lead to better prospects in adolescence and adulthood— and that it is better to learn these skills sooner than later, including in early childhood. 

Strong research and practice shows that the five social and emotional skills that the Tauck Family Foundation is focused on—self-control, persistence, mastery orientation, academic self-efficacy, and social competence—are important to acquire early, because lower skill levels can lead young children to fall further and further behind their peers. This may be because these competencies serve as a set of tools with which young children acquire basic academic skills, upon which advanced academic skills are built. Thus, early disparities in the development of these social and emotional skills can lead to a widening gap in achievement.

These skills are also both important in themselves, and for their impact on each other. For example, the ability to control one’s impulses and emotions is a skill required throughout life, and children’s abilities to do so develop in middle childhood. At the same time, children whose self-regulation skills are strong tend to be better liked by their peers than those who have poor skills. Similarly, children who have difficulties with self-control do not do as well academically as those who do not. This tends to negatively affect their peer relationships, and, in turn, their social adjustment.

In summary:

Early Childhood: There is mounting evidence that investing in social and emotional learning in early childhood yields significant long-term dividends. The earlier SEL efforts and interventions begin, the more likely children are to develop these skills and competencies in the long-term. Early social-emotional skills are linked with a wide array of positive adult outcomes, including positive mental health, interpersonal relationships, educational attainment, civic engagement, productive employment, and physical health in later life.

Elementary School: These years are critical for developing social and emotional skills, skills that are essential for learning—without them, children fall farther and farther behind. Students who are struggling as early as third grade have a greater likelihood of failing academically and eventually dropping out of school. And, it is critical that children are equipped with these skills before they reach the challenging middle school years.

Middle School: There is also research on the increasing need for continued SEL efforts throughout middle school.  As children begin to transition to adolescence, 11-14-year-old students begin to experience many emotional, social, and physical changes. Unfortunately, there is a rise in bullying incidents during middle school and ensuring children are equipped with social and emotional competencies is one way to mitigate the impact of bullying.  And, supporting children through middle school becomes increasingly important, particularly as we seek to institute gains achieved in elementary school.  

For more on the research behind these social and emotional skills and how they lead to positive outcomes throughout childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, see our Child Outcomes page.

Learn more about the Rationale for our Mission:

Why social investing and performance management?

Why social and emotional learning?

Why family engagement?

Why Bridgeport, Connecticut?