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Social Emotional Learning

photo of hand with images of sad face, neutral face and happy face

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.
The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning

Why is Gerner Family Early Education Center Focusing on SEL?

Documented Benefits of SEL include:

  • In a meta-analysis of 213 school-based SEL programs, participants demonstrated significantly improved social and emotional skills, attitudes, and behavior, as well as an 11-percentile-point gain in academic performance. [1]
  • Children who are socially and emotionally competent have more friends and more connections with positive peers, and are less likely to be rejected, isolated, or bullied. Children with friends are happier and more successful in school. [2]
  • Empathetic children with good perspective-taking skills are less likely to be physically, verbally, or indirectly aggressive toward peers. [3]
  • Children’s social relations affect their feeling of connectedness at school, which affects their sense of academic competence. [4]
  • The social-emotional competence of students is an important component of effective bullying prevention. [5]
  • SEL interventions show an average return on investment of $11 for every dollar spent. [6]

 For more information visit CASEL.


  1. Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development, 82(1): 405–432.
  2. Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. (2007). Background on social and emotional learning (SEL). Chicago: University of Illinois at Chicago.
  3. Kaukiainen, A., Bjorkqvist, K., Lagerspetz, K., Osterman, K., Salmivalli, C., Rothberg, S., et al. (1999). The relationships between social intelligence, empathy, and three types of aggression. Aggressive Behavior, 25, 81–89.
  4. Guay, F., Boivin, M., & Hodges, E. V. E. (1999). Predicting change in academic achievement: A model of peer experiences and self-system processes. Journal of Educational Psychology, 91, 105–115.
  5. Smith, B. H., & Low, S. (2013). The role of social-emotional learning in bullying prevention efforts. Theory Into Practice, 52(4), 280–287. doi:10.1080/00405841.2013.829731
  6. Belfield, C., Bowden, B., Klapp, A., Levin, H., Shand, R., & Zander, S. (2015). The Economic Value of Social and Emotional Learning. New York: Center for Benefit-Cost Studies in Education, Teachers College, Columbia University.

5 Core Competencies

  1. Self-awareness: Know your strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a “growth mindset.”
  2. Self-management: Effectively manage stress, control impulses, and motivate yourself to set and achieve goals.
  3. Social awareness: Understand the perspectives of others and empathize with them, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
  4. Relationship skills: Communicate clearly, listen well, cooperate with others, resist inappropriate social pressure, negotiate conflict constructively, and seek and offer help when needed.
  5. Responsible decision-making: Make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on ethical standards, safety, and social norms.