Teach SEL on a Continuum: Ideas to Promote Strong Relationships with Infants – 8th Grade Students DECA/DESSA Blog Series, Part II This is the second in a series of posts from Aperture Education’s Senior Research Associate, Jennifer Robitaille. Before joining Aperture Education, Robitaille worked with the Devereux Center for Resilient Children. She has worked extensively on both the DECA and DESSA. Read the first post in the series, here. You may be surprised to learn that social and emotional learning (SEL) starts as early as birth. From day one, infants form attachments and build relationships with the adults who care for them. As they grow and mature, youth learn additional critical social and emotional competencies and continue to develop the necessary skills to succeed in school and beyond. Establishing healthy attachments and relationships is a good example of how SEL starts at birth and continues to develop over time. We can begin to assess and promote this construct in infancy, and as children grow and mature we can help them learn how to build and navigate relationships with caregivers, peers, and others. This can be reinforced as children’s interactions and relationships expand and become increasingly more complex. The table below illustrates ways we can support and measure attachment and relationship skills in infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary and middle school aged children. *Devereux Early Childhood Assessment (DECA); Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA) The ability to form and maintain healthy relationships is an important social and emotional competency that begins to develop early in life. Teachers and caregivers can support the development of this competency at all ages. The above table provides a sample of strategies for supporting children’s attachment and relationship skills from infancy through middle school. Contact our experts at Aperture Education for additional strategies for establishing a strong SEL foundation early on.