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You may have heard the term SEL before, Social-Emotional Learning. But what is it? Why is it important?

For educators and youth workers, it’s very important, especially now with COVID-19 and many students feeling alone or isolated. CASEL defines SEL as the following:

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

Watch this video from the Committee for Children that provides a great explanation of social-emotional learning and its importance.

Engaging your students with social and emotional learning helps them feel better, helps them academically, and helps them endure hard and trying circumstances!

The great news is, both short term and long term social-emotional skills can be taught.

This was shown in a large review of research on social-emotional skills in over 270,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade (Durlak et al., 2011). The study found that social-emotional learning programs in schools improved social-emotional skills, increased positive attitudes toward school, and positive social behavior and academic performance. These programs also decreased the likelihood of kids getting in trouble or experiencing emotional problems.

So we know that social-emotional skills help children to: (Source:

  • Endure in difficult circumstances
  • Seek help when it is needed
  • Show empathy in their actions

Where should you start? The easiest thing to do might be to download our free 7 SEL Activities to print or email to your students today!

Josh Jeffrey

Josh has two daughters, one in elementary school and one in junior high. He and his wife, Diana, are passionate about building relationships and helping people succeed and flourish in life. They are the founders of the nonprofit, Network of Us, and Josh is part of the Rewriting Futures design and development team.