Some may argue that social emotional learning (SEL) is a bit too “touchy-feely” to be that important, or to have precious school minutes spent on it when kids could be filling their minds with academics like reading and math.  In fact, research is telling us that taking time for SEL improves a child’s academic skills, and can be correlated to long-term life success.

A landmark 2011 study found that well-designed and implemented “SEL programs improve test-taking skills and performance, promote positive social behaviors and reduce behavioral problems, decrease levels of emotional distress, and foster positive feelings” (Durlak, et al., 2011).

Additional research has shown that children exposed to SEL show evidence of resiliency (Hawkins et al., 2008), in that they are LESS LIKELY later in life to:

  • Abuse alcohol and drugs
  • Suffer from mental illnesses
  • Be incarcerated

This doesn’t even include the day-to-day skills teachers commonly report when including SEL as part of their  practices (CASEL, 2013) such as:

  • Greater motivation to learn
  • Improved relationships with peers
  • Better classroom behavior
  • Deeper connection to their school
  • Increased attendance
  • Higher graduation rates

What do YOU think?  Have you participated in any SEL at home or at school with your children?  We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.  

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