About READy

Growing social emotional learning and equity means empowering young learners with an understanding of diverse perspectives and experiences.  Through SNF READy (Readying Equity and Diversity), we’re working with public schools and libraries to bring our love of books to children and families, with established and emerging authors and characters that celebrate diverse perspectives and experiences, while providing the tools to integrate transformative social emotional learning – and the vocabulary of feelings – into classrooms.

According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), “social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.” CASEL identifies five interrelated core competencies of SEL: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.  Through READy integration in public Pre-K and elementary schools, we aim to advance transformative SEL to impact diversity, equity and inclusion outcomes for children and families.  Learn more about CASEL’s concept of transformative SEL.

Want to help?  Purchasing your books through our Bookshop.org store makes a big assist to our work and the kids we serve – Bookshop.org donates 10% of your purchases to the Steve Nash Foundation AND matches that 10% in donations to local bookstores nationwide!  We have recommendations for great reads for babies through teens (and some for the grown-ups in their lives, too).

“Racism is causing changes in children’s biology, contributing to a pile-up of stressors that lead to worsening health outcomes. Racism gets inside the body.” – Al Race, Deputy Director at the Harvard Center on the Developing Child

Why READy?

At the Steve Nash Foundation, we believe that anti-racist work is critical to moving public health, and the health of all children, forward.  Anti-racism efforts recognize racism as behaviors and systemic racism as the building and maintenance of infrastructures that support those behaviors.  Anti-racism efforts therefore prioritize the importance of understanding how those systems and practices came to be, seek to examine them so as to elucidate patterns and foundations, and actively participate in both dismantling them, and preventing their future replication.  Social emotional learning (SEL) helps this work.

 

The science of early childhood development tells us that children cognize racial differences as early as age 3 months, and begin to make value judgments based on those differences by age 3 years.  Kids see race early – failing to have conversations with them and to do anti-racism work fails children and causes them harm – emotional and physical.  As Al Race, Deputy Director at the Harvard Center on the Developing Child said on a 2021 Zoom, “Racism is causing changes in children’s biology, contributing to a pile-up of stressors that lead to worsening health outcomes.  Racism gets inside the body.”  Those sentiments are supported with findings from the American Academy of Pediatrics: “Racism is a social determinant of health that has a profound impact on the health status of children, adolescents, emerging adults, and their families.”

 

Our “network of mutuality,” to borrow a phrase from Dr. King, demands justice and equity for children in classrooms if those classrooms are to serve children well.  We’ve long known about the negative impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACE) on academic success and community health.  But it’s not just the individual child impacted – as detailed in a 2009 paper from U. Pitt and UC Davis, “children from troubled families significantly decrease their peers’ reading and math test scores and increase misbehavior in the classroom.”  As with other ACEs, it stands that racism would see similar impact on community well-being.  Children – with their individual backgrounds, daily experiences, and own unique perceptions of their world – need the tools to name racism, verbalize their feelings about it, and be able to bring empathy to those experiencing it.  We’re excited at how the SEL community has evolved to promoting the concept of “transformative SEL,” “a process whereby students and teachers build strong, respectful relationships founded on an appreciation of similarities and differences, learn to critically examine root causes of inequity, and develop collaborative solutions to community and societal problems.”

 

CASEL’s Dr. Robert Jagers writes that “SEL has the potential to help mitigate the interrelated legacies of racial and class oppression in the U.S. and globally. Currently, that potential is underrealized.”  We hope to be a part of building up diversity, equity and inclusion, right from the start, and hope you’ll join us to grow health in kids.

SNF READy started on Galiano Island in British Columbia, and is heading to la isla de Brooklyn, NY this year!  We’re providing library collections to the Brooklyn Public Library and elementary schools in District 15, teacher training, and ready-to-use curriculum kits to grow social emotional skills and ready diversity, equity and inclusion in kids and their spaces.  Want to bring READy to your school?  Stay tuned – we’ll post a call for collaboration here and on our social channels (follow us on Twitter and Instagram @stevenashfdn) when we’re READy to expand.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Letter From A Birmingham Jail, 1963)

Join us in readying equity and diversity, to grow health in kids.