I read with great interest the recent guest column by child care providers expressing support for LD 1321 (June 10). The legislation would create a pilot program that will assist the growth of early childhood development programs that teach invaluable social and emotional skills, helping prepare Maine’s children for adulthood.

Having served in law enforcement my entire career, I have witnessed first-hand the power that social and emotional learning has to foster safer, more productive communities. Too many children grow up without the skills necessary to socialize in a healthy way and to manage their emotions. People who lack social-emotional skills are more likely to enter adulthood struggling to hold a job, making success more elusive. Some will even turn to crime.

Many child care providers say that the lack of social and emotional support and instruction for Maine’s children is leading to problems in the classroom, causing too many youngsters to be expelled. I believe that, if not addressed, those problems can carry forward into the teen and adult years — and into our communities.

I agree that Maine lawmakers should support legislation that will help families and early education teachers have the resources to teach social and emotional skill development to children at the youngest ages. Promoting social-emotional learning is a wise investment and is critical to the success of all our children and the safety of the state.

Eric Samson, sheriff, Androscoggin County

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