“Healthy Mind, Healthy Body” Initiative Will Provide Custom Educational Resources to Address Social and Emotional Learning
The initiative was informed by original research conducted by First Book in December of last year. The First Book-Molina Health Needs Assessment gathered input from more than 2,100 First Book members, who exclusively serve low-income communities, to identify the most significant barriers to health and wellness faced by their students. The results revealed that educators saw mental health, or a combination of mental and physical health, as an obstacle to academic success by nearly 90 percent of respondents. Physical health alone was cited as the top health issue by just 13 percent. Family-friendly information on managing feelings and emotions, to be used in the classroom or program as well as shared with parents, was named as the most sought-after resource.
Child development and education experts increasingly cite social and emotional learning (SEL) as foundational for cognitive development and learning. CASEL identifies five key SEL core competencies: Self-Management, consisting of managing emotions and behaviors; Self-Awareness, recognizing ones strengths and limitations; Responsible Decision-Making, making constructive choices about personal and social behavior; Relationship Skills, forming positive relationships, working in teams and dealing effectively with conflict; and Social Awareness, showing understanding and empathy for others.
“We know that a child’s physical health — whether they are hungry, cold or lack access to basic hygiene — is fundamental to classroom success, and now teachers are telling us that social and emotional health should be considered with equal urgency,” said Kyle Zimmer, First Book president and CEO. “This partnership provides educators with resources to address what they have identified as a priority, and develop the content we know they need. We are so grateful to Molina Healthcare for their visionary support and commitment to addressing these barriers to children’s success, and to CASEL for its efforts in helping to bring these new groundbreaking educational resources to families in need.”
The “Healthy Mind, Healthy Body” resources are available primarily through the First Book Marketplace, the award-winning e-commerce website offering a range of free and low-cost resources to educators serving low-income communities. To address the critical lack of resources in these communities, Molina will also provide more than $250,000 of purchasing support and grants for significantly expanded custom health and wellness content on the First Book Marketplace. The new content will include:
- Two special collections of children’s books, curated by First Book, that address specific social and emotional core competencies, matched with developmental age. One collection will be targeted at Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten children, and the other is designed to be used with children in grades 1-3.
- Tip sheets and bilingual animated videos, developed in collaboration with CASEL.
- An expanded Health and Wellness section on the First Book Marketplace, allowing educators to conduct targeted searches with specialized navigation.
“Resources that promote social and emotional competence are as integral to learning as pencils and textbooks,” said Melissa Schlinger, CASEL vice president of programs and practice. “The development of these resources by First Book and Molina Healthcare with CASEL’s support is providing an opportunity for conversations and activities around SEL skills to take place. Getting these books and information to teachers and parents in low-income communities brings us one step closer to a comprehensive, holistic curriculum.”
The Molina/First Book partnership kicked off with events that delivered more than 93,000 books to families and educators in Tampa, Detroit and El Paso.
The stresses of poverty on children’s mental and emotional wellbeing were cited by the vast majority of educators (85 percent), along with the related stresses of incarcerated family members and substance abuse (each cited by 56 percent).
- The central role of the family in supporting children’s emotional development was clearly identified as significant contributing factor: lack of healthy family relationships were cited by 66 percent, and absence of a caring adult in the home, cited by 47 percent, were seen as key barriers to their students’ mental health.
- A significant majority of educators—71 percent—cited a lack of positive role models for healthy emotional behaviors as equally disruptive to a lack of access to healthy food.
- Lack of resources to address emotional health was cited as a barrier to wellness by 50 percent of educators, highlighting the need for additional support.
About First Book
About Molina Healthcare, Inc.
– See more at: https://www.firstbook.org/about-first-book/media-center/press-releases/558-healthy-mind-healthy-body-initiative-will-provide-custom-educational-resources-to-address-social-and-emotional-learning#sthash.OPZsl23l.dpuf