Bringing SEL to life
The Move This World story begins in 2007, when founder Sara Potler LaHayne spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Bogota, Colombia. During her research, she found that traditional dry, text-based approaches to social and emotional learning (SEL) were failing to engage most students. She realized that the playground, not the classroom, was where most SEL took place, because that’s where children have the most freedom to move, interact, and express their emotions.
That insight led to the creation of Dance 4 Peace, later rebranded as Move This World. The company started by working directly with students at U.S. schools to teach social and emotional skills through movement and creative expression before switching to a “train the trainer” approach and finally to facilitating classroom SEL teaching through multimedia experiences.
Video quickly proved to be a fun and effective way to teach SEL skills on an ongoing basis and grow the SEL foundation within a school community. Around seven years ago, Move This World began to curate a video library of highly engaging, participatory exercises for teachers to deliver to their students daily. Each grade level has a unique multimedia-based curriculum with a scope and sequence designed to build skills appropriately over time.
“Our videos are interactive and incorporate movement, creative expression, and moments of play to teach students a common language to express their emotions and provide skills that can help them navigate any situation,” says Kathy Krupa. “We support our students from Pre-K through 12th grade to ensure they have a solid foundation for recognizing, managing, and communicating their emotions.”
The launch of the video library was when things really started to accelerate for Move This World—the organization reached its first million students within four years and its second million just two years later. The next challenge was how to make this growth sustainable and put SEL content not only in the hands of teachers but also in the hands of students and their families across the country.