Social and emotional learning as a solution

What was the main purpose of this project?

“Following the murder of my 6 year old son in his first grade classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School, I decided to become part of the solution. I realized quickly that the issues we suffer from extend beyond school violence. Substance abuse is at an all time high, almost half of our youth suffer from a diagnosable mental illness at some point before they’re 18, bullying continues to increase in schools and at home, and our suicide rates have increased 30% since 1999. All of these issues are escalating despite what is seemingly our best efforts. Why? Because we focus on the negative and address the symptoms in a reactive way instead of taking a proactive and preventive approach.

At the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement we focus on the solution. Social and Emotional Learning teaches kids how to have deep and meaningful connection, skills and tools for resilience and how to manage emotions and resolve conflict. Decades of research show that kids that learn Social and Emotional life skills in their classrooms get better grades and test scores, higher attendance and graduation rates as well as experience less bullying, violence, substance abuse, mental illness and incarceration later in life. We created the no cost, comprehensive PreK-12th grade Choose Love Enrichment Program to offer this to all children because we know through decades of research this is what will most benefit them in their individual lives and society as a whole.”

How did the project foster cooperations and partnerships?

“I immediately reached out to educators who agreed with me that school violence, substance abuse and mental illness can be proactively prevented with Social and Emotional Learning. They helped to write the Choose Love Enrichment Program that is now being taught in all 50 states and over 55 countries. Others with professional degrees in early childhood development, counselors, academics and others came together to help with this mission because it was a solution to the issues that impact almost every single one of us and for the children.

We can offer the program but it is our educators that must take up the charge and implement it in their classrooms and teach the lessons with fidelity. Educators in all 50 states and over 55 countries have stepped up to the plate to be part of the solution and have downloaded the program and taught the lessons in their classrooms. We have had amazing results and the educators find they benefit from the lessons as well.”

We can offer the program but it is our educators that must take up the charge and implement it in their classrooms and teach the lessons with fidelity.

What was the best practice learnt from this project that you want to share?

“The greatest lesson that I’ve learned is that we all must be part of the solution. The opposite of anxiety is action and there is something that we can all do. I realized quickly there are only two kinds of people in this word: good people like you and me, and good people in pain. And this is a hopeful statement because there is always something we can do to help ease someone’s pain. Scientific research shows us that when we do for others, we receive the benefit as well. Our program is based on a powerful formula for choosing love in every situation: courage + gratitude + forgiveness + compassion in action = choosing love. When we step outside our own pain and businesses to help others, all the nurturing healing love we give out, comes back to us.”

Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement

  • Category: International projects
  • Coordinator: Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement
  • Country: United States
  • Field: social and emotional education in schools
  • Innovative cooperation: educators, councelors and academics
  • Resources: website