What is SEL?
Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is an integral part of education and human development. 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.
SEL advances educational equity and excellence through authentic school-family-community partnerships to establish learning environments and experiences that feature trusting and collaborative relationships, rigorous and meaningful curriculum and instruction, and ongoing evaluation. SEL can help address various forms of inequity and empower young people and adults to co-create thriving schools and contribute to safe, healthy, and just communities.
Benefits of SEL
CASEL Findings on the Benefits of SEL
Student Benefits of SEL
- Academic Outcomes
- Improved Classroom Behavior
- Increased Ability to Deal with Stress and Depression
- Better Attitudes about Themselves
- Can Help Reduce Poverty and Increase Economic Mobility
- Improves Lifetime Outcomes
Science Links SEL to Student Gains
- Social-emotional skills
- Improved attitudes about self, others, and school
- Positive classroom behavior
- 11 percentile-point gain on standardized achievement tests
Source: Durlak, J.A., Weissberg, R.P., Dymnicki, A.B., Taylor, R.D., & Schellinger, K. (2011) The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development: 82 (1), 405-432.
There are benefits for adults too!
Teachers who possess social and emotional competencies are more likely to stay in the classroom longer.
Teachers with high levels of social competence are better able to protect themselves from burnout by:
- Developing and managing nurturing relationships with their students
- Serving as behavioral role models for children
- Regulating their own emotions
Supporting SEL Skills at Home
Supporting students Social Emotional learning at home and in school is important.
Here are some resources to help you support our children!
SEL 101 for Parents (video link)
or visit CASEL'S page for SEL in Homes and Communities
7 Tips for Practicing SEL at Home
Here are bite-sized practices and rituals that you can consider using on a regular basis with your child(ren) to extend social-emotional learning into the home.
1. Take an assets-based approach that focuses on your child’s strengths. Emphasize children’s strengths and “SEL superpowers” before talking about what they can improve on. For instance: when your child brings home a graded test or assignment, first discuss what she or her did well. Then shift the discussion to what can be improved. Focus on process-oriented skills versus the outcome. Take this a step further by working collaboratively with your child to create a “SEL skill chart” that they can use to monitor how they are practicing various skills and habits at home.
2. Explore emotions by asking your child how they feel. Send the message that feelings matter, are normal, and that you care about them. Encourage children to use “I” statements when talking about their emotions; help them unpack what it feels like to be happy, excited, stressed, or frustrated.
3. Model empathy and kindness as well as sharing and helping behaviors. Utilize daily interactions – such as helping an elderly neighbor – to encouraging sharing and helping behaviors. Explore options for children to participate in community service projects or volunteering opportunities and talk to them about giving back.
4. Read books to (or with) your child. Seek recommendations from your child’s teacher or a librarian for stories on themes that both interest your child and are relevant to the SEL skills they are learning in the classroom. Read these books together with your child and explore how the characters handle conflict or form relationships.
5. Empower your child to solve problems on their own. Resist the temptation to step-in and offer solutions to a difficult situation your child is encountering. Instead, ask probing questions to help your child solve the problem on their own. Discuss how decisions might impact others (positively or negatively) and what the pros and cons or solutions might be.
6. Model emotion labeling and emotion regulation when you encounter stress, frustration or anger. Specify a “quiet area” in the house that can be used to cool-down. When you encounter “trigger situations” that may cause you to get angry or irritated, name what you’re feeling, take a few deep breaths, and talk as a family about what everyone can do to stay calm.
7. Be willing to apologize. Show your child that it is important to apologize after an outburst, misunderstanding or conflict while modeling respect and kindness.
Students in grades PK through 5 are exposed to Social Emotional Learning skills through the Sanford Harmony program. The program consists of five units or focus themes: diversity and inclusion, empathy and critical thinking, communication, problem solving, and peer relationships. Teachers now have access to the curriculum materials digitally!
Teachers can boost their knowledge through teacher training to support social and emotional learning and inspirational instruction in the PK-12 classroom for free at Sanford Harmony.
Students in grades 3 through 12 complete the Panorama Student Competencies and Well-Being Survey as a universal screener to identify areas of strength and improvement. Teacher perception surveys are completed for students in grades PK through 2. Rearch and evidence-based interventions are available in the Panorama Playbook, available to all teachers. Just log in to your Panorama Education account!
To further develop student learning in the areas of social-emotional competency, check out these other cool resources:
Greater Good in Education SEL Practices