Social and Emotional Learning

A series of resources on the importance of supporting children’s social and emotional learning and development so that they can lead healthier, more successful lives.

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What is Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)?

Social and emotional learning (SEL) provides a foundation for healthy development. It is the process children, youth, and adults go through to develop the skills to engage with others, manage their emotions, show empathy, handle stress, set goals, make responsible decisions, and in the long run to succeed in work and life.

Social and Emotional Learning can improve students’ academic performance, decrease problem behavior, and increase college and career success. The resources collected here highlight a wide range of research on SEL, and cover how teachers, parents, schools and others can all support the social emotional development of young people.

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A Focus on Healthy Children

RWJF funds projects that enable children, particularly those most vulnerable, to grow up physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively well and at a healthy weight.

Latest Research


Promoting Social and Emotional Learning in the Middle and High School Years

October 27, 2017 | Brief

The effects of social emotional learning on adolescent development appear to be important, but somewhat smaller than those of programs for younger children.


Improving Social Emotional Skills in Childhood Enhances Long-Term Well-Being and Economic Outcomes

June 1, 2017 | Brief

Investing in effective social emotional programs for all children now can increase the number of productive, well-adjusted adults and yield economic benefits in the future.


Infographic: Promoting Social and Emotional Learning in Preschool

May 24, 2017 | Tool/Resource

An infographic illustrates how social and emotional learning in preschool is essential to student success.


Promoting Social and Emotional Learning in Preschool

May 1, 2017 | Brief

To promote school readiness, preschools need to focus strategically on social-emotional development. Preschool SEL programming has the potential to reduce the school readiness gap and help children become healthy, thriving adults.


Infographic: Social and Emotional Learning in Elementary School Prepares Students for Success

April 6, 2017 | Tool/Resource

An infographic illustrates how social and emotional learning prepares students for success and how school leaders can act to support it.

Animated gifs

Download and share a GIF to illustrate how Social Emotional Learning programs help students with long-term societal benefits that extend far beyond the individual child.

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Young boy and girl play together in a classroom.

How Children's Social Competence Impacts Their Well-Being in Adulthood

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A young woman engages a child in a physical activity exercise.
Early Childhood Development