Science backs up what educators, parents, and caregivers have long known: learning is social, emotional, and cognitive. The most powerful learning happens when we pay attention to all of these aspects—not separately, but woven together, just like how our brains work.
America’s Promise Alliance is advancing this understanding about how learning happens and helping to fuel the growing movement to educate children as whole people—combining their social and emotional well-being with academic growth and success. Our effort builds on the work of the Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development and its final report, A Nation at Hope, as well as other efforts to advance a whole child approach to learning and development.
The voices of those on the frontlines of education, community, and employment drive us to believe that a focus on young people’s comprehensive learning and growth is essential for helping our schools, our communities, and our workplaces become the thriving, productive, and collaborative places we know they can be.
From a Nation at Risk to a Nation at Hope
A growing movement dedicated to the social, emotional, and academic well-being of children is reshaping learning and changing lives across America. On the strength of its remarkable consensus, a nation at risk is finally a nation at hope. The final report from the Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development includes recommendations in research, practice, and policy for helping states and local communities close the gap between what we know about how learning happens and the learning experiences that our young people are engaged in every day.
Research, Practice, and Policy Agendas
An unwavering focus on the whole learner requires changes in research, practice, and policy. These three agendas provide detailed recommendations for how each of these areas can be leveraged to support young people’s social, emotional, and academic development.
Proposes a research agenda to support whole-child and adolescent development across learning settings.
Offers strategies for how schools and communities can create learning environments that foster the comprehensive development of all young people.
Discusses the role of policy in creating conditions for communities to implement locally crafted practices that drive more equitable outcomes.
How do we talk about the skills and competencies that help our young people learn and grow in a way that’s intuitive and actionable? This became the call to action that led Learning Heroes, the National Commission, and now America’s Promise Alliance, to collaborate in developing a suite of communications resources to help our partners address this challenge.
We hope these resources will help you effectively engage with multiple audiences―but especially with families, educators, and youth-serving leaders―about the development of social, emotional, and cognitive skills in children.
Building Partnerships in Support of Where, When, and How Learning Happens
Created by the National Commission’s Youth Development Work Group, this brief focuses on the critical role youth development organizations play in young people’s growth and development.