What is SEL?

Effective social-emotional learning (SEL) is a transformative and evidence-based educational process that teaches children, from pre-k through 12th grade, the mental skills that will significantly reduce emotional stresses that lead to violence and addiction, improve problem-solving skills, enhance empathy, raise academic test scores and increase resiliency.

SEL serves as an umbrella for many programs and initiative that serve to make youth feel safe and provide a positive learning environment.   These include:

  • Social-Emotional Learning.
  • Character Education.
  • Service Learning.
  • Peer Mediation.
  • Bullying Prevention.
  • Anger Management.
  • Drug/Alcohol Prevention.
  • Violence Prevention.
  • Ethical-Decision Making.
  • Harassment Prevention.
  • Positive Behavior Supports.


Sport psychology, positive psychology, cognitive-behavioral psychology are sciences that support the SEL teaching methodology.


The competencies attained by effective social-emotional learning programming include:

  • recognizing and managing our emotions;
  • developing caring and concern for others;
  • establishing positive relationships;
  • making responsible decisions; and
  • handling challenging situations constructively and ethically.


They, and the skills needed to reach these goals, allow children to calm themselves when angry, make long-lasting friends, resolve conflicts respectfully, and make ethical and safe choices.


SEL is a framework for school improvement  by creating and maintaining a caring learning environments.  Students learn better in a positive and safe school.


The most beneficial SEL programs are:

  • sequential and developmentally appropriate instruction in SEL skills;
  • implemented in a coordinated manner, schoolwide, from preschool through high school;
  • reinforced in the classroom, during out-of-school activities, and at home;
  • giving teachers ongoing professional development in SEL;
  • uniting families and schools to work together to promote children’s social, emotional, and academic success.


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