Elementary SELect Program

Program Design and Implementation Support

The RULER Approach to Social and Emotional Learning is a school-wide approach designed for use in kindergarten through eighth grade to promote the development of five key emotion skills, including Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing, and Regulating emotions (the “RULER” skills). RULER implementation involves systematic professional development for the adults involved in the education of children (school leaders, teachers, support staff, and adult family members) so that emotions become central to learning, teaching, and parenting. In the first year, teachers learn and then teach the “anchors” of emotional literacy: four tools that were designed to help both adults and students to develop their RULER skills, self- and social awareness, empathy, and perspective-taking ability, as well as to foster a healthy emotional climate. Subsequently, teachers learn how to integrate the approach into their standard curriculum and experience The Feeling Words Curriculum, a language-based emotional literacy program for students. In addition, RULER has an interactive training program designed to provide adult family members with strategies for extending and promoting social and emotional development at home. Initial training for RULER can be completed online (a 6-week training program with 2 hours of work per week) or in-person over two days.  RULER offers a train-the-trainer system to support sustainability.

Evidence of Effectiveness

RULER has been evaluated in a randomized control trial (n=273) conducted in grades 5-6. Students were followed over the course a single year.

Brackett, M. A., Rivers, S. E., Reyes, M. R., & Salovey, P. (2012). Enhancing academic performance and social and emotional competence with the RULER Feeling Words Curriculum. Learning and Individual Differences, 22, 218-224.
Hagelskamp, C., Brackett, M. A, Rivers, S. E., & Salovey, P.  (2012). Improving classroom quality with The RULER approach to social and emotional learning: Proximal and distal outcomes. Manuscript submitted for publication. 
Rivers, S. E., Brackett, M. A., Reyes, M. R., Elbertson, N. A. & Salovey, P. (in press). Improving the social and emotional climate of classrooms: A clustered randomized controlled trial testing The RULER Approach. Prevention Science.