Supporting Social and Emotional Learning in School

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is:

  • Developing the skills to recognize and manage emotions
  • Learning to set and achieve positive goals
  • Learning to appreciate the perspectives of others
  • Establishing and maintaining positive relationships
  • Making responsible decisions.

School policies and practices that support SEL can help meet students’ psychosocial needs.4,5 Creating a positive social and emotional climate in schools supports SEL.

Strategies to Support SEL
Schools can use this toolkit to create parent awareness about SEC and SEL.

Schools can use a variety of strategies to help with student SEL, such as:

  • Carefully selecting or thoroughly developing curricula that emphasize SEL competencies. Schools can identify and implement programs that are developmentally appropriate and culturally relevant for students.
  • Integrating SEL skill building, modeling, practice, and assessment across all academic areas.Teachers can incorporate opportunities for students to practice SEL skills and develop competencies such as establishing positive relationships and understanding diverse perspectives through group learning activities.
  • Strengthening teacher, staff, and administrator core competencies through professional development. Schools can provide staff training on role modeling and applying social and emotional skills in teacher-student relationships
  • Fostering safe, inclusive learning environments for all young people. Schools can establish a culture that emphasizes the importance of showing empathy in relationships, using effective communication, and demonstrating respect for diversity.
  • Informing families and communities about school-wide SEL initiatives and activities.Districts and schools can include highlights on their websites detailing SEL policies and practices and describing how SEL supports student development and achievement to keep families and communities informed.

School nutrition and school physical activity policies and practices can also support the social and emotional climate and SEL:

School Nutrition and the Social and Emotional Climate and Learning

School-Based Physical Activity and the Social and Emotional Climate and Learning