What is SEL?

What is social and emotional learning?

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is a positive youth development framework that refers to the acquisition of skills needed to recognize and manage emotions, develop care and concern for others, make responsible decisions, establish and maintain positive relationships, and handle interpersonal situations effectively. These capabilities–along with IQ and academic knowledge–equip a person to succeed in life.

Class of preschool children raising hands to answer teacher

SEL Competencies Defined by Our Students

Why is SEL important: supporting evidence?

Growing research is suggesting that IQ and EQ are intimately connected and are critical to the development of the “whole child” and “whole adult” to ensure their positive development and success in life.

According to the Gates Foundation, learning SEL skills will prepare youth to be successful in college and the 21st-century workplace. Research shows SEL skills contribute to an increase in academic and testing performance as well.

A Gates Foundation­-funded report by Child Trends states that “social competence emerges as the most visible quality needed for success across all fields.” It identified social competence and avoiding risky behaviors as criteria that colleges and employers use to define young applicants’ competence.

participants in SEL programs demonstrated significantly improved social and emotional skills, attitudes, behavior, and academic performance

The American Institute of Research states that a social and emotional learning framework helps prevent bullying from occurring as it more comprehensively addresses the underlying contributing social, emotional and environmental factors that often lead to bullying behaviors in youth.

American companies are spending increasing amounts of money to develop employees’ emotional and social intelligence skills to increase both leader and employee effectiveness as well as organizational performance (Human Resource Development, December 2007).

In a published meta-­analysis of 213 school­-based SEL programs involving 270,034 K­12 students, participants in SEL programs demonstrated significantly improved social and emotional skills, attitudes, behavior, and academic performance compared to controls. This was reflected in an 11­-percentile-­point gain in achievement (Child Development, January/February 2011).

SEL provides a foundation for better adjustment and academic performance as reflected in more positive social behaviors, fewer conduct problems, less emotional distress, and improved academic performance through higher test scores and grades.


What are the benefits of SEL?

These skills give youth and adults the framework to:

  • cope with anger and stress
  • recognize their own and others’ emotions and how to handle them without violence
  • express emotions appropriately
  • lessen power struggles and resolve conflicts constructively and collaboratively
  • solve their own problems
  • give positive feedback to others
  • critically think and make good decisions and choices
  • develop effective listening and communication skills
  • dialogue rather than debate with others
  • act according to their values, not their emotions

What can you do to help?

Besides setting a positive example for children by exhibiting healthy social and emotional behavior, you may also choose to donate to Frameworks or volunteer with our organization. Donations directly affect our SEL programs by providing the means to integrate social and emotional learning into the curriculum at certain schools in the Tampa Bay area. Alternatively, volunteers are always welcome to help communicate our events to the public or to work with students directly. However you choose to help, you will make a difference in a child’s life. Together, we can teach youth to manage their emotions, develop healthy relationships, and make good decisions, while preparing them for their future!