CASEL understands how important it is to attend to the social and emotional needs that arise during times like these. SEL offers a powerful means to explore and express our emotions, build relationships, and support each other – children and adults alike.

Please feel free to access and share the resources below, which are designed to support educators, parents, and anyone who works with children. This page will be updated regularly.

  • NEW Refocus on the SEL Roadmap: Actions for a Successful Second Semester (Jan 2021)

    As we enter the second half of the year, we offer three strategies adapted from the SEL Roadmap (July 2020) to re-examine efforts for a successful second semester. CASEL collaborated with more than 40 organizations to illuminate a way forward with SEL that is centered on relationships and built on the existing strengths of a school community.

Guidelines for Educators, Parents, and Caregivers

Below we share guidance for keeping SEL at the forefront during the COVID-19 pandemic following the four core focus areas of CASEL’s guides for schoolwide SEL and districtwide SEL.

First, create a foundation for social and emotional learning

  • Whether educating through technology or in your own home, this is the time to re-envision education. In order for young people to engage and learn, we need to create environments that promote a positive sense of well-being and healthy connections between peers and with adults. Focus first on secure relationships and emotional safety, and prioritize social and emotional competence alongside academics as fundamental to quality education.
  • Prioritize strong, two-way communication between families and schools.  Communication between schools, families, and community organizations has always been critical to SEL, but is particularly front and center as school buildings are closed and young people spend the entire “school day” at home or in their neighborhoods. That means that to promote SEL, we’ll need to work closely to learn from and support one another in creating the environments that can support students socially and emotionally, which includes helping families address their own stresses, anxieties, etc. and asking families to inform school and district approaches to SEL.

Second, attend to well-being and mutual support among adults

  • All educators, community partners, parents, and others who touch the lives of young people are also experiencing disruption in their lives caused by COVID-19, which may result in stress, anxiety, uncertainty, and feeling overwhelmed. We need to pay close attention to our own social emotional needs in order to be the community of adults who best serve our young people. Practice continued self-care strategies, including eating healthy, getting enough sleep, exercising, and finding time to take breaks. If you find yourself overwhelmed by negative thoughts, find ways to reframe your thinking. Seek out needed mental health support for yourself or loved ones.
  • Foster supportive adult relationships to process emotions, share challenges, and offer support to one another.  Your colleagues and fellow parents are also adjusting to new and difficult ways of working and taking care of family and friends.  Adults also benefit from feeling connected with and known by their peers.  Build in space for personal connection and mutual support, whether it’s 5 minutes at the beginning of a virtual meeting for everyone to respond to a question, breaking into smaller groups to share problems of practice, setting up optional online social events, or creating random pairs so that everyone has a specific partner to check in with for a virtual coffee date once a week.

Third, promote social and emotional learning for young people

  • Whenever possible, provide consistency in daily routines to foster a sense of safety and predictability. For parents and caregivers, this may mean maintaining a clear schedule of meal times, learning time, and bedtime. For educators, this may mean beginning online classes, sharing out, and assigning work in a consistent, structured way.
  • Listen to young people. Give children and youth opportunities to share their concerns, and address the difficult questions on their minds in age-appropriate ways.  
  • Support young people in building or maintaining a sense of community and connection.  Relationships are always a priority and a key to engagement and learning, and especially so at a time when young people may be feeling isolated.  Educators can build in time for students to check in with each other, to share an experience, and to have fun during virtual classes as this provides opportunities for social connection and promotes self-awareness, social awareness, and relationship skills.  Parents and caregivers can brainstorm with their children about creative ways to stay connected with peers through technology, exchanging letters or crafts, or collaborating on projects.
  • Incorporate social and emotional skill building into learning.  Educators can use familiar strategies from an SEL program used at the school or CASEL’s SEL 3 Signature Practices to provide opportunities for students to reflect and contribute, pause to process their emotions and thoughts, connect and collaborate with their peers, and promote empathy.  Both educators and families can access free COVID-19 E-Learning resources from the SEL Providers Council.  For assignments and projects, consider encouraging young people to work together through shared documents and apps to strengthen skills in collaboration and relationship-building.  With independent work, include open-ended questions that require young people to reflect on their personal experience and feelings to strengthen self-awareness and communication.

Fourth, reflect on how things are going and adjust as you learn

  • Education in the time of a long-term global pandemic is a new experience, and it is easy to get lost in the constant flow of new information and resources.  One of the most valuable sources of information about what is or isn’t working will come from students, families, and your wider community of stakeholders.  Educators should look closely at data on participation in distance learning and should plan to survey parents, students, and staff, then analyze results with a lens of equity to meet needs.  Parents and caregivers can keep a log of positive moments and challenges to uncover patterns and consider possible root causes of their children’s emotional responses and behavior. Learn through experience and open conversation, and apply new learning as you forge ahead!

SEL Resources

Distance Learning

Free Resources to Support E-learning: Members of the SEL Provider Council have curated their resources and curriculum. Please note that these have not been evaluated by CASEL through our program review process.

Greater Good in Education: Supporting Learning and Well-Being During the Coronavirus Crisis

  • This resource provides practices for families and educators to support learning and well-being for young people in kindergarten through college

Education Week: Video: 7 Tips for Remote Teaching

  • Larry Ferlazzo, a high school teacher in Sacramento City Unified School District, summarizes recommendations that he and other teachers made during an 11 part blog series on distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic for Education Week

Teaching Tolerance: A Trauma-Informed Approach to Teaching Through Coronavirus

  • Experts at the National Child Traumatic Stress Network respond to questions about trauma-informed practices to support students during school closure and distance learning

WestEd: Strategies for Trauma-Informed Distance Learning

  • Introduction to the concept of trauma-informed practice and why it is especially crucial during distance learning. This research-based brief provides actionable strategies for applying a trauma-informed lens during school closures

Education Week: How to Teach Social-Emotional Learning When Students Aren’t in School

  • EdWeek speaks with SEL experts about specific strategies to help student maintain social connections, manage stress, and build supportive environments through distance learning

The COVID-19 Education Coalition: Learning Keeps Going 

  • A coalition of education organizations has curated this collection of best practices, free tech, ideas for parents, and webinars & podcasts to support distance learning

Facing History and Ourselves: Taking School Online with a Student-Centered Approach

  • A packet of resources to help teachers sustain community, support students, and create engaging, meaningful learning experiences

American Federation of Teachers: COVID-19 School Closures: Distance Learning Tips

  • Concise tip sheet for teachers to prepare for distance learning, from planning and pacing to supporting students as they adjust and staying flexible

Facebook: Digital Citizenship and Wellbeing Pillars

  • Resources for educators, parents, and youth for engaging in conversations and reflection about the complexity of citizenship and wellbeing in digital spaces. Includes lesson plans, activities, and additional tools for discussing this during COVID

Search Institute: Building Developmental Relationships During the COVID Crisis

  • Practical strategies for teachers to build developmentally appropriate relationships with their students during COVID

Edsurge: How Can Educators Tap Into Research to Increase Engagement During Remote Learning?

  • Uses the Adolescent Community of Engagement Framework to give practical strategies for creating genuinely engaging learning experiences for students during distance learning

Buck Institute for Education: Project Based Learning for Remote Learning

  • This webpage provides project ideas, recommended technology, and best practices for facilitating project-based learning (PBL) remotely

SEL at Home

Jennifer Miller: Confident Parents Confident Kids blog

  • Jennifer Miller’s blog is all about how family members can support social and emotional development at home, and recent posts provide a range of quality resources and ideas for supporting SEL during school closures

Harvard Graduate School of Education: Caring for Preschoolers at Home

  • Guidance for creating structure and routine and developing social and emotional skills while preschool-aged children are staying home

xSEL Labs: SEL In An Unplanned Home School Setting

  • Ideas for setting expectations, teaching SEL competencies in context, motivating, and staying connected with social support networks

AIR: Building Positive Conditions for Learning at Home: Strategies and Resources for Families and Caregivers

  • Four basic elements for parents on creating a supportive learning space at home, with concrete strategies in both English and Spanish

Child Mind Institute: Single Parenting During the Coronavirus Crisis

  • Provides strategies for single parents during COVID-19 grounded in the ideas of “radical acceptance” and self-compassion

Self-Care Strategies

West Ed: Self-Care Strategies for Educators During the Coronavirus Crisis: Supporting Personal Social and Emotional Well-Being

  • This brief offers practical information and guidance on self-care for educators, recognizing the stresses of the coronavirus pandemic and resulting school closing on educators, building on a growing research base about self-care

ASCD: 5 Strategies for Teacher Self-Care

  • These strategies are applicable at any time but especially when managing home and family responsibilities while also planning and delivering learning virtually

National Alliance on Mental Illness: COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide

  • NAMI’s guide to addressing health concerns and other challenges that are causing anxiety during the COVID-19 outbreak, organized in the format of most frequently asked questions

American Psychological Association: Building Your Resilience

  • Specific ways to build resilience in times of stress through building connections, fostering wellness, finding purpose, embracing healthy thoughts, and seeking help

EdSurge: Teachers Are Anxious and Overwhelmed. They Need SEL Now More Than Ever

  • This article posits SEL as central to supporting educator wellness and self-care during COVID-19, offering data on anxiety and burnout, demonstrating connections to the core SEL competencies, and sharing concrete strategies for prioritizing educator self-care

University of Michigan: Trails to Wellness

  • This menu of research-based strategies has been specifically curated for self-care practice during COVID-19

AIR: Educator Resilience and Trauma-Informed Self-Care: Self-Assessment and Planning Tool

  • This research-grounded tool from AIR is for educators looking to engage in deep introspection around their own self-care practice

Circle Forward, via Greater Good Science Center: Self-Care Circle

  • This circle protocol can be used with adults or students to center themselves and reflect on and share ways to practice self-care. Learn more about how to conduct a circle virtually here

Supporting Staff and Virtual Teams

Facing History and Ourselves: Support for Teachers During the COVID-19

  • On-demand webinars, online learning, and resources to support teaching and learning during school closures

CASEL: SEL 3 Signature Practices Playbook

  • CASEL’s resource book for planning welcoming/inclusion activities, engaging strategies, and optimistic closures for team meetings or class periods, online or in-person

National Child Traumatic Stress Network: Coping in Hard Times: Fact Sheet for School Staff

  • Offers ways to support staff and families coping during times of economic downturn by supporting a sense of safety, calm, efficacy, connectedness, and hope

Edutopia: 4 Guiding Questions for Effective Remote Collaboration

  • As teams adjust to new circumstances, these questions can help teams stay efficient, establish new norms for communication, and maintain a sense of meaning and belonging

Education First: Making the Most of “Going Virtual” in Response to COVID-19

  • Strategies for building connections and team culture, translating best practices for group meetings and collaboration into a virtual format, and keeping team members engaged and fulfilled

Panorama: Administer Distance Learning Surveys to Students, Families, and Staff

  • These downloadable open source surveys can be used to elevate student voice, teacher/staff/administrator feedback, and family and community needs

Actions for Equity

CASEL continues to be committed to advancing equity and excellence in education through social and emotional learning (SEL). Find out more on our initiatives and resources to advance SEL as a Lever for Equity.

NCLD: Supporting the Social and Emotional Learning of Systematically Marginalized Students in a Pandemic

  • Resources on understanding and addressing intersectional needs during COVID-19, especially for systemically marginalized young people such as those with learning disabilities. Includes separate guides and key questions for families, school leaders, and district leaders in English and Spanish

CRE Hub: Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Remote Education

  • This resource from the NYU Steinhardt College of Culture, Education, and Human Development offers educators actionable strategies grounded in research for approaching distance learning with a culturally responsive lens

Common Sense Education: 7 Ways to Make Distance Learning More Equitable

  • Provides guidance for designing quality distance learning experiences, focusing in on ways to reach students with limited tech access and identifying communication gaps that could impact your most vulnerable students

The Trevor Project: Implications of COVID-19 for LGBTQ Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention 

  • This research paper from the Trevor Project discusses the serious implications of the COVID pandemic on the mental health of LGBTQ youth along with ideas for how supportive adults can mitigate these risks

The Education Trust: 10 Questions for Equity Advocates to Ask About Distance Learning

  • Poses 10 big questions for equity and school district leadership to consider related to distance learning, offering data on the challenges related to each question and ideas for consideration linked to school district’s efforts across the country

Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative: Trauma-Sensitive Remote Learning: Keeping Connections Strong

  • This is a brief review of trauma-sensitive school and district leadership approaches in light of COVID. The authors synthesize answers to key questions based on what leaders in educational settings have put into place and research

ASCD: Why COVID-19 Is Our Equity Check

  • A thought-provoking reflection from a leader in the SEL-field on how the pandemic created the opportunity for an ‘equity check’ in our society

Talking to Children about COVID-19

National Association of School Psychologists: Helping Children Cope with Changes Resulting From COVID-19

  • NASP offers guidance for adults to speak with young people about COVID-19 while also modeling problem-solving, flexibility, and compassion

Child Mind Institute: Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus

  • This short video and list of recommendations takes into account the developmental needs of children

PBS: How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus

  • PBS Kids’ recommendations for speaking to young children about COVID-19, social distancing, and hygiene, with links to relevant episodes of PBS shows

NPR: What to Say to Kids When the News is Scary

  • This audio recording and article, while not specific to COVID-19 news, shares developmentally appropriate ways to help young people process current events and counteract misinformation

Teaching Tolerance: Speaking Up Against Racism Around the New Coronavirus

  • While written back in February for teachers to address stereotypes, xenophobia, and racism in connection with COVID-19, this article can provide educators and families with ways to speak against ongoing racism that young people may be hearing or experiencing

Facing History and Ourselves: Coronavirus: Protect Yourself and Stand Against Racism

  • Facing History and Ourselves continues to update this page on the facts about COVID-19, learning about instances of discrimination related to the outbreak, and situating current events within historical context

New York Times: 5 Ways to Help Teens Manage Anxiety About the Coronavirus

  • Guidance that takes into account the developmental needs of adolescents, with ideas for channeling stress productively

News-O-Matic: Be There for Others Even While Apart

  • These tips on how to help friends and loved ones are aimed specifically at young readers

Additional Resources for Schools/Districts

CASEL Letter to State and District Leaders

  • Now is the time to take a bold stance in supporting educators, students, and their families. You can help encourage state departments of education and district leaders to use funding from the federal emergency relief funds to be dedicated to supporting high-quality SEL skill-building. Get involved by sharing our expert recommendations.

AIR: Recognizing the Role of Afterschool and Summer Programs in Reopening and Rebuilding

  • This document includes recommendations on ways to include afterschool and summer programming to support students’ transition back to school

Education Week: A Coronavirus Outreach Plan: 5 Steps for District Leaders

  • Suggestions for creating a communication plan for families and staff within the school district community

¡Colorín colorado!Coronavirus: ELL and Multilingual Resources for Schools

  • Resources to help schools partner more effectively with multilingual families in response to COVID-19

Dept of Education: COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel

  • Up to date information, resources and guidance for school settings, as well as At Home activities from various departments within the federal government

ASCA: Planning for Virtual/Distance School Counseling During an Emergency Shutdown

  • The American School Counselor Association shares information and issues to consider for virtual/distance school counseling

National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement: Teacher Training Module: Supporting Grieving Students in Schools

  • Staff training modules provide information to better understand the experience of students who are grieving and practical strategies and guidance to support them

Chiefs for Change: The Return: How Should Education Leaders Prepare for Reentry and Beyond?

  • This brief offers guidance and recommendations for eventual reopening with a focus on social and emotional wellness and skills

Rennie Center: Back-to-School Blueprint

  • Series of return-to-school action guides with topics ranging from addressing trauma and anxiety, to measuring students’ progress and learning needs, to reengaging students at risk of dropping out and developing post-secondary pathways for all students

NWEA: Kick-start Fall Planning: 4 Principles for Instructional Leaders

  • NWEA’s research anticipates the learning loss connected with 2019-2020 school closures, and lays out 4 principles for bridging the gap and meeting students where they are, beginning with a system-wide approach to SEL

Facing History and Ourselves: Preparing to Welcome Students Back to School

  • This guidance from FHAO provides guidance and strategies to help educators welcome students back to school in a way that lays the foundation “for community and care”

Additional Resources for States

CASEL and Committee for Children: From Response to Reopening: State Efforts to Elevate Social and Emotional Learning During the Pandemic

  • This brief provides six recommendations for states to continue their support of SEL as schools close out this school year, transition to the summer, and prepare for the fall

Education WeekState Education Chiefs on the Coronavirus: What We Need to Know Now

Chiefs for ChangeResponding to Coronavirus: What We are Doing and Resources for Education Systems

  • A regularly updated, curated list of resources from federal agencies, states, and districts to provide guidance for systems leaders

Michigan State University: State Policies to Address COVID-19 School Closure

Science of Learning & Development (SoLD): The Role of Policy in Advancing the Science and Practice of Learning and Development

Aspen Institute: Policy Recommendations to Support Social, Emotional, and Academic Development: Fostering Connectedness in the Pandemic Era

  • Designed to help state education leaders identify 10 potential actions focused on fostering social and emotional development and school connectedness

CCSSO: COVID-19 Response, Phase 2: Restart & Recovery

  • CCSSO offers a framework that outlines a 12-month response and recovery work plan that includes a Rapid Response outline to address the immediate needs of states across a continuum of identified critical needs

LPI: Reopening Schools in the Context of COVID-19: Health and Safety Guidelines From Other Countries

  • Provides insight into health and safety guidelines and social distancing strategies used in other countries that have successfully reopened schools

Forbes: A New “New Deal” For Education: Top 10 Policy Moves For States In The COVID 2.0 Era

  • Esteemed educational research, author, leader, and activist, Linda Darling-Hammond offers ten specific policies to consider that strengthen learning opportunities for all students, as re-entry is being planned and systems are being redesigned

The Aspen Institute: State Actions to Support Social, Emotional, and Academic Development: Fostering Connectedness in the Pandemic Era

  • The Aspen Institute offers 10 State Agency actions for social, emotional, and academic connectedness at a policy level. Elevating student voice is a key recommendation, as is the prioritization of resources

AIR: Recognizing the Role of Afterschool and Summer Programs and Systems in Reopening and Rebuilding

  • AIR offers benefits and rationale for investing in out of schooltime activities during school reopening. Additionally, AIR frames out of schooltime as an opportunity to promote educational equity and provides strategies for doing this.

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