What is Social Emotional Learning (SEL)?

Social emotional skills help children make friends, follow directions, and be comfortable in a classroom. Generally, SEL breaks down into the following three areas: relationship skills, self-control, and initiative. Relationships include the ability to get along with others, to make and maintain friendships, and to enjoy the process of playing with others. Self-regulation deals with the ability to control one’s emotions, to take turns, and to show patience. Initiative is the ability for a child to express their personal and academic needs.

A child will listen and imitate modeled behavior. These models can come from virtually anywhere, including home, school, and videos, and do not need to be from direct interactions alone. Children are always listening and observing. They may or may not model the behavior they observe, but they are watching the interactions and their consequences.

Positive SEL skills are vital if a child is to be successful personally, academically, and vocationally. These fundamental mental health and wellness skills help a child to adapt to changes and adversity, whether at school, on the playground, or at home. Learning SEL skills as a child correlates to success and happiness as an adult. Combining the teaching of these skills with academic learning provides a child with the tools to be more successful in the classroom and beyond.