Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

“… emotional-social intelligence is an array of interrelated emotional and social competencies and skills that determine how effectively individuals understand and express themselves, understand others and relate with them, and cope with daily demands, challenges, and pressures.”

– Reuven Bar

What is Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

Learning is a holistic endeavor. Cognitive, social, and emotional capabilities are at the epicenter of and intrinsically intertwined in the learning process.

The Aspen Institute convened a Council of Distinguished Scientists, concluding, “high-quality learning happens when social, emotional, and academic development are purposefully integrated.”

James L. Accomando, president of the National PTA, an Aspen Institute National Commission partner, agrees. “Integrating social, emotional, and academic development as well as engaging families and communities is the most effective and sustainable strategy to meet the needs of the whole child and ensure every child has the opportunity to reach their full potential.”

The History of Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

In 1968, Dr. James D. Comer, one of the world’s leading child psychiatrists, and his colleagues at Yale University’s Child Study Center initiated a student-centered approach to learning at two New Haven, Connecticut, elementary schools. Comer’s program, which focused on developing the “whole child,” was the catalyst for adopting social emotional educational philosophies.

SEL was formalized in 1994 by a multidisciplinary network of scholars, researchers, educators, practitioners, and child advocates. Specializing in emotional intelligence, child development, prevention science, bullying prevention, and public health, the collaborative identified core skills and competencies students need to successfully navigate school and life.

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) was formed from this combined effort. CASEL is dedicated to supporting children’s social, emotional, and academic development and spearheads evidence-based SEL as a fundamental aspect of education from preschool through high school.

What is Social Emotional Learning (SEL)?

As defined by CASEL, social emotional learning is the process through which every individual:

  • Acquires and applies the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities
  • Manages emotions and achieves personal and collective goals
  • Feels and expresses empathy for others
  • Establishes and maintains supportive relationships
  • Makes responsible and caring decisions

Thousands of schools have implemented SEL programs, and researchers have conducted over 500 evaluations of various SEL curriculums.

A movement with a long history rooted in multiple disciplines, social emotional learning is acknowledged as integral to education and human development.

Learn more about Social Emotional Learning (SEL).

Private School Los Gatos

“Students are encouraged to explore, research, and study areas of interest. At a recent parent meeting several alums also attended, we prompted attendees to think of a time they’d gotten lost in learning more; what was the topic? One of our alums, now a senior in high school, explored the catastrophic side of nuclear energy. He is entering college as a Nuclear Engineering major.”

– Kara Riordan, Head of School –