Social and Emotional Learning

Establishing social and emotional skills that provide a foundation for success in school, work and life.

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What is Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)?

Social and emotional learning is a framework that focuses on the core social and emotional skills necessary for students of all ages be healthy and successful. Bridging curriculum and teaching with school policies and collaboration with parents and communities, SEL has five key components: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.

In elementary school, SEL often focuses on helping students achieve key developmental skills, such as the ability to express emotions and establish and manage peer relationships with less support from adults. Through middle and high school, it often shifts to the unique needs of young people in adolescence, such as their search for identity and attitudes toward themselves and others.

When effectively structured and supported, SEL programs have been shown to benefit students in a number of ways—from improving academic performance, to decreasing problem behavior and emotional distress, to helping students succeed in higher education and the workplace. Drawing on RWJF-funded research and programs, this collection includes resources supporting use of SEL approaches to provide every student the foundation for success in school, work, and life.

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Social and emotional learning: beyond the classroom

Share an animated GIF to show how SEL programs provide long-term societal benefits that extend far beyond the individual child.