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New Project is Looking for Solutions Scaling Social and Emotional Learning Programs Globally

13.4.2021 | BY MARIAH O'MARA

HundrED and The LEGO Foundation announce their second project, which aims to identify innovations focused on social-emotional learning skills in students around the world.  

The reduction of social interaction, physical activity, and play caused by the COIVD-19 pandemic has dramatically increased emotional stress in students worldwide. The HundrED Spotlight on Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), led by Finland-based nonprofit HundrED in partnership with The LEGO Foundation, aims to identify the most impactful and scalable education innovations in the world, which are fostering SEL skills in students ages 5-12. 

Social and Emotional Learning is an umbrella term used to represent a wide range of skills that individuals need in order to set goals, manage behavior, and build relationships.

People with strong social and emotional skills have been proven to be better able to cope with challenges and succeed socially, academically, and professionally. The ability to recognize and regulate emotions has always been important but is critical now given the current climate of civil unrest and political polarization across the globe.  

Through this project, we aim to identify 10-20 innovations that promote safe learning environments, encourage caring and nurturing relationships, are responsive to learners’ needs, and can be embedded across socio-cultural contexts.

The selected innovations will be featured on HundrED’s global platform, highlighted in a comprehensive report on Social-Emotional Learning, and featured in short documentary videos. This project builds on the success of the HundrED Creativity Spotlight, which celebrated innovations fostering creativity in education and was announced at the HundrED 2020 Innovation Summit. When asked how he felt about continuing the partnership with The LEGO Foundation HundrED’s Executive Director Lasse Leponiemi responded,

“The results of our Creativity Spotlight proved that there is a need for creative solutions addressing more than just academic skills. We are so excited to get the chance to continue our work with The LEGO Foundation addressing another topic critical to the success of future generations.” 

The LEGO Foundation approaches child development through their model of Skills for Holistic Development and believes that learning through play supports children to develop these vital holistic skills. This approach highlights the importance of physical, social, cognitive, creative, and emotional skills and how these complement and interact with one another. Sarah Bouchie, Chief Impact Officer at the LEGO Foundation described the need for this new initiative:   

“COVID-19 has revealed gaps in education systems and showed us critical areas that require focus. In an unprecedented way, we see the importance globally of children building social and emotional skills to help them thrive in school, the workplace, and life. The LEGO Foundation is excited to partner with HundrED to develop the Spotlight on Social and Emotional Learning, and we hope that this exciting work will inspire and enable policymakers, innovators, educators, caregivers, and learners to embrace new learning environments and tools essential to develop social and emotional skills.”

The next phase of the competition includes a rigorous review of all eligible applications by HundrED’s global research team, followed by an advisory committee made up of educators, education experts, researchers, and policymakers who will score each innovation in order to help decide which will make the cut to be included in the Spotlight collection. Following the review period, the selected innovations will be announced in November as part of HundrED’s annual 3-day Innovation Summit in Helsinki Finland in November 2021. 

For more information and to submit your application to the HundrED Spotlight on SEL, visit: https://hundred.org/en/collections/social-emotional-learning-sel

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