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

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Applying an Equity Lens to Social, Emotional, and Academic Development

June 1, 2018 | Brief

Many students face barriers to healthy social, emotional and academic development, but a range of strategies can help overcome those barriers.

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Social-Emotional Development in the First Three Years

April 1, 2018 | Brief

In the first three years of life, children achieve remarkable advances in social and emotional development that establish a foundation for later competencies.

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School Climate and Social and Emotional Learning

January 1, 2018 | Brief

Aligning school climate and social and emotional learning, two previously separate concepts, can be integrated in future research to create healthier schools.

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

October 1, 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.

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Public Perceptions of Infant Brain Development

September 1, 2017 | Report

ZERO TO THREE surveyed voters to explore awareness of parents’ attitudes and perspectives on policy ideas to support the healthy development of infants and toddlers.

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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Children who exhibit social competence traits such as sharing may be more likely to attain well-paying jobs. Explore the infographic to see what we're doing to ensure all kids have the building blocks for lifelong health, and join the conversation.

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Young boy and girl play together in a classroom.

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

A 20-year retrospective study suggests that kindergarten students who are more inclined to exhibit “social competence” trait may be more likely to attain higher education and well-paying jobs.

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