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Boston Business Journal Op-Ed: Biden’s Education Plan Closes in On the Starting Line

June 16, 2021

Dr. Donna Housman's Op-Ed in the Boston Business Journal puts the spotlight on the critical importance of universal preschool — and including the core skills of emotional intelligence in any plan.

"Universal-free preschool is part of President Biden’s sweeping plan to invest in education as part of securing America’s place as a leader in the 21st century economy. For early educators and those in the childcare sector, it’s a long-awaited acknowledgment of early learning as vital to the growth of young people. For our country and economy, it’s an invaluable recognition that the essential skills for tomorrow's citizens, workers and leaders come in the earliest years. But to reach its full potential, the plan must include a focus on the critical skill sets of emotional intelligence in a child’s earliest years."

Why is laying the foundation of emotional intelligence in the earliest years so very critical to not only this moment, but to our future?

1. We know the child’s impressionable brain achieves 90% of its development before the age of five. Children are born ready to learn.

2. Children develop within the context of their relationships — it’s the responsive, empathic, and emotionally attuned interactions between child and adult that stimulate neural connections, and in turn, build key emotional capacities. 

3. Children are emotional detectives — adept at sensing, internalizing, and modeling the behavior of family, educators, and other influential adults who serve as socializers. If they experience empathic responses to their emotions and are taught to respect the emotions of others, they will develop empathy — a key precursor to a more equitable society.

4. When we are able to provide experiences in teaching the youngest of children how to manage their own emotions and those of others, we are providing the building blocks of emotional intelligence.

5. Employers are seeking these emotional competencies in their workforce, recognizing that cooperation, collaboration, and problem-solving are the qualities that distinguish successful employees and leaders.

6. It is far easier to prevent than repair. Introducing these experiences and skills into early childhood experiences and education from birth allows for these foundational capacities to become part of children’s character and moral development from the beginning. Promoting these skills from the earliest years for every child can change the trajectory of their lives.

 

Read Dr. Housman's Op-Ed

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