Social Emotional Learning

Creating a pathway to lifelong success

A child’s social and emotional development not only impacts his or her ability to achieve academically, it also influences many key areas of functioning beyond school.

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The mission of the Social Emotional Learning Initiative is to organize and provide resources to develop the social and emotional skills essential for lifelong success of Norwalk’s children

As a team of service providers, practitioners and leaders from the district and community-based organizations, we strive to create a continuum of enrichment and intervention services and to create alignment between community and school district services in order to maximize available resources.

As a community, we have the opportunity to increase the number of high quality adult relationships with children and youth, increase parent engagement opportunities and support, and increase the number of youth engaging in community activities.

The most recent results from the Search Institute’s Attitudes and Behaviors Survey, administered to over 2,000 7th, 9th, and 11th grade Norwalk Public School students revealed that:

    • • 46% of youth receive support from three or more non-parent adults 
    • • 30% of youth feel school provides a caring, encouraging environment
    • • 33% of youth feel they are given useful roles in the community.


When young people experience positive developmental relationships with parents, educators, youth program staff, and other adults their outcomes are better, their risk behaviors are lower and they are more likely to be on the path to thrive in life (Search Institute).  

Caring community members can easily engage young people, increase connections and increase developmental assets so youth can become tomorrow’s competent, caring adults.




As a Neighbor or Caring Adult, You Can:

□ Invite a young person you know to join you in an activity: play a game, visit a park, or go for a walk together. 

□ Greet the children and adolescents you see every day. 

□ Send birthday cards, letters, “I’m thinking of you” notes, or e-messages to a child or adolescent with whom you have a connection. 

As a Parent or Family Member, You Can: 

□ Consistently model—and talk about—your family’s values and priorities. 

□ Regularly include all children in your family in projects around the house, recreational activities of all kinds, and community service projects that benefit people with needs greater than your own. 

□ Post a list of the Developmental Assets and talk to children about them (refer to age-specific lists below). Ask teens for suggestions of ways to strengthen their assets as well as yours. 

As an Organization Member and/or Businessperson, You Can: 

□ Highlight, develop, expand, and support programs designed to build assets, such as one-on-one mentoring, peer helping, service learning, and parent education.

□ Provide meaningful opportunities for young people to contribute to the lives of others, in and through your organization. 

□ Develop employee policies that encourage asset building in youth, including flexible work schedules for parents and other employees that allow them to volunteer in youth development programs. 

Developmental Asset Resources











Please contact MJ Chironna at for questions about the Social Emotional Learning Initiative