A male-presenting person helps several students at a table in a classroom.

Fundamentals of SEL

SEL can help all young people and adults thrive personally and academically, develop and maintain positive relationships, become lifelong learners, and contribute to a more caring, just world.

We define social and emotional learning (SEL) as an integral part of education and human development. SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.

SEL advances educational equity and excellence through authentic school-family-community partnerships to establish learning environments and experiences that feature trusting and collaborative relationships, rigorous and meaningful curriculum and instruction, and ongoing evaluation. SEL can help address various forms of inequity and empower young people and adults to co-create thriving schools and contribute to safe, healthy, and just communities.

What Does the Research Say?

SEL makes a difference. We know this from the research, which demonstrates that an education that promotes SEL has a positive impact on a wide range of outcomes, including academic performance, healthy relationships, mental wellness, and more.

Dive into the research
The Impact of Social and Emotional Learning

What is the CASEL SEL framework?

For many, our framework is known as the “CASEL wheel.” At the center are the five core social and emotional competencies—broad, interrelated areas that support learning and development. Circling them are four key settings where students live and grow. School-family-community partnerships coordinate SEL practices and establish equitable learning environments across all of these contexts.

Explore the CASEL Framework
Casel wheel with rings labeled by Casels core values
How Does SEL Support Equity?

We are driven by a vision of all children and adults as self-aware, caring, responsible, engaged, and lifelong learners who work together to achieve their goals. SEL can be a powerful lever for creating caring, just, inclusive, and healthy schools that support all young people.

How Can You Speak Up for SEL?

The majority of students, teachers, and families agree: SEL belongs in schools. But when it is co-opted by political agendas, students risk losing out on an education that will help them succeed in school and in life. Now is the time for brave thinkers and tireless doers to speak up for SEL.

How does SEL connect to…

The COVID-19 Pandemic

SEL offers a powerful means to support one another during these challenging times by developing crucial competencies relating to empathy, resilience, and relationship-building that students and adults need.

Read more about COVID-19

Mental Health

While SEL and mental health are not the same, SEL can promote positive mental health in many ways, and should be incorporated in a system of mental wellness supports and resources.

Learn more about Mental Health

Civic Learning

Today’s dynamic and multicultural society calls on the next generation of civic leaders to develop strong social and emotional skills. Integrating SEL into civic learning gives students the opportunity to participate as caring and engaged community members.

Read more about SEL and Civic Learning

Workforce Preparation

By aligning and integrating SEL and workforce preparation efforts, states and districts can promote the competencies and environments that will prepare youth to thrive and succeed in the workplace.

Learn more about SEL and Workforce Preparation
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