What exactly is social and emotional development? It’s the change over time in the way children react to and interact with their social environments. A child is not born with the ability to identify his emotions, control his impulses, or understand his place in the social world.
Over the last few decades, researchers have established a direct link between early childhood experiences and social and emotional well-being in adulthood. Career criminal isn’t a path people take a sudden leap into. It’s the result of a life shaped since birth by toxic experiences.
That’s because there is powerful evidence in study after study that healthy social and emotional development in the first years of life significantly reduces the risk that today’s toddlers will become tomorrow’s violent teenagers or adults.
Children are born ready to socialize, and they begin honing social and emotional skills before they can talk. But learning depends on the input we give them, and some kids aren't getting the opportunities they need to achieve.
Imagine the not-so-distant future, when your child is old enough to start school. Is he good at understanding his feelings? Does she cooperate with her peers? Is your child helpful? Able to overcome little setbacks? Solve everyday problems without a lot of adult supervision?
Today’s leaders are working to make Memphis and Shelby County better for business, better for tourism, better for healthcare, and better for higher education. But tomorrow’s leaders are today’s children, so we must also make our community a better place for childhood.