A new study from Housman Institute shows that begin to ECSEL —an emotional cognitive and social early learning approach for children from birth—quantifiably improves self-regulation, empathy and social-emotional skills that are foundational to emotional intelligence.
ECSEL, based on emotional foundations of learning and cognition, aims to help young children from birth develop emotional competence on the path toward effective self-regulation. ECSEL can begin to teach emotional competence to children as young as infants, in an effort to enhance emotion regulation and self-regulation and to promote a positive sense of self, mental health, and well-being.
Given the paucity of research conducted in classroom settings with infants and toddlers and, in particular, about how early childhood educators promote emotional competence among children, it is crucial to develop, explore, and implement programs beginning from birth that employ a variety of techniques focused on emotional and self-regulatory skills in young children. ECSEL is one such program.
As the present paper illustrates, evidence exists that an approach such as ECSEL may have long-term implications for children’s mental health, well-being, and success and—pending the results of ongoing and future research—could therefore be recommended for integration into early childhood education globally. At the same time, of course, ECSEL is not a panacea and cannot guarantee far-reaching societal changes. Further research and field application, however, will clarify the nature of its proximal benefits (i.e., post-intervention outcomes), point to the potential for distal benefits (i.e., long-term outcomes), and ideally provide the foundation for future application of this approach at a broader, societal level.