Social-Emotional Learning Kit Project

Social-Emotional Learning Kit

The Northeast Early Childhood Council (NECC) established a Mental Health Task Force (MHTF) to address the needs of our local children, birth-age 8, and their families.   Before the pandemic, this task force had identified that many children lacked the social-emotional skills needed to be successful learners upon entering Preschool and/or Kindergarten.    As a result of academic disruptions caused by COVID-19, social-emotional skills are now among the most significant challenges faced by young learners returning to the classroom. 


Social-emotional learning (SEL) is the process of developing the self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills that are vital for school, work, and life success. People with strong social-emotional skills can better cope with everyday challenges and benefit academically, professionally, and socially.


Social-emotional learning is the foundation for all other learning. Children learn through play, but that is much more difficult without the social skills needed to have successful, positive interactions with others. Fostering children’s social-emotional learning will give them the skills and confidence they need to be happy, successful learners.


The MHTF developed the SEL Kit Project to provide a “toolbox” of resources that can be used to support social-emotional learning (SEL) in families of young children. The goal is to help families develop these skills with their children to ensure they are prepared to learn. 

The MHTF plans to distribute Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Kits to support local families in our seven communities (Brooklyn, Canterbury, Killingly, Plainfield, Putnam, Sterling & Thompson). 

Each item in the Kit serves the purpose of supporting Social-Emotional Learning:

A Little Spot of Emotion 8 Plush Toys with Feelings Book Box: Great for helping children identify with their emotions and feelings. Emotions are complex and challenging to explain.   The Little SPOT of Emotion Box Set teaches about happiness, sadness, anger, anxiety, love, confidence, peacefulness, and a mix of it all! The book included features a bonus mirror, along with a FEELINGS POSTER. The poster and mirror help children identify facial expressions. To learn more:

ABC’s of Kindness Hardcover Book by Highlights Press:  A diverse & inclusive cast of children show acts of kindness and generosity to spark conversations about empathy and compassion for others.

Gizmo’s Pawesome Guide to Mental Health:  Gizmo and his fellow therapy dog and K9 First Responder friends use a warm and fuzzy approach to introduce mental health and wellness to youth. This approach makes the Guide engaging, memorable, and not only easy to use, but fun as well.

Calm Down Cards:  These portable cards can help children recognize and talk about feelings, provide coping strategies, and acts as a visual to promote self-regulation.

Sand Timer:  Sand timers can be used to help children transition from one activity/event to another.   This empowers children to manage their feelings and develop negotiation and cooperation skills.  

Fidget/Sensory Toys – assorted balls, pop tubes, coil springs, and push pop bubbles: These toys are used to relieve stress, and anxiety, and improve concentration & learning.

Hand puppets:  Puppets can assist in identifying and naming emotions to help children understand and resolve conflicts respectfully. A puppet can also play a role in restorative approaches to behavior issues and help children manage differences and disagreements.


The Northeast Early Childhood Council (NECC) is a nonprofit organization; this project is made possible by personal, organizational, and school donations and limited grant funding.

We thank everyone for their donations; this project could not happen without the generous support from individuals and organizations in our communities.

If you would like to donate to this project so we can continue to serve even more families across our seven communities, you can do that in two ways:

  1. Purchase items from our Amazon wish list – they can be shipped directly to our regional drop-off location c/o Goodyear Early Childhood Center.
  2. Make a tax-deductible monetary donation; instructions found here:

For more information, contact:  Regional Outreach Coordinator Christine Rosati Randall at 860-717-2009 or


Phone App Called “Sparkler”: This phone app will help parents monitor their children’s Social-emotional development through the Ages and Stages (ASQ-SE) questionnaire; parents can learn how to sign up here:

Teaching Emotions: Activity Ideas to Share with Families Author: National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations

Taking a Break: Using a Calm Down Area at Home

The CT Early Learning and Development Standards (CT ELDS): These were developed to help families, communities, and schools work together to support children’s early learning and growth.