The initiative was informed by original research conducted by
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
The "Healthy Mind, Healthy Body" resources are available primarily through the
- 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.
"We know that children living in low-income households often experience food insecurity, unhealthy living conditions, low health literacy and other social determinants that affect their well-being," said Dr.
"Resources that promote social and emotional competence are as integral to learning as pencils and textbooks," said
The First Book-Molina Health Needs Assessment was conducted over two days in
- 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 Molina Healthcare, Inc.
Molina Healthcare, Inc., a FORTUNE 500 company, provides managed health care services under the
The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) is the nation's leading organization advancing the development of academic, social and emotional competence for all students. Its mission is to help make evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL) an integral part of education from preschool through high school. Through research, practice and policy, CASEL collaborates to ensure all students become knowledgeable, responsible, caring and contributing members of society. For more information on CASEL, please visit www.casel.org.
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