The field of social and emotional learning (SEL) is rapidly expanding, as educators bring a sharper focus to helping children build skills beyond academic knowledge. School climate initiatives, anti-bullying work, positive behavior supports and other SEL efforts are now steering programs in schools and out-of-school-time (OST) settings across the country. Building children's SEL skills has taken on even more urgency in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This updated and expanded guide to evidence-based SEL programs offers detailed information on 33 pre-K through elementary school programs, encompassing curricular content and program highlights. Practitioners from schools, early childhood education (ECE) providers and out-of-school time (OST) can use this resource to look “inside and across” programs to better understand program content and assess program fit with their district or community needs.
New chapters in the 2021 edition include recommendations for achieving equitable SEL (including common barriers and best practices) and guidance on trauma-informed or trauma-sensitive approaches to SEL, which includes principles, practices and recommendations for integrating SEL into regular practice.
The guide was written by Stephanie Jones, an associate professor in human development and urban education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a team of Harvard researchers. Jones is a recognized expert and frequent speaker on social and emotional learning.
A “How to Use the Navigating SEL Guide” supplement includes processes and worksheets to help practitioners use the information in the report.
The guide, which builds upon and complements existing tools for SEL practitioners, is a practical resource that provides profiles of each program, including the specific skills it targets and instructional methods it uses. Some programs, for example, are designed to help students regulate their behavior and build positive relationships, while others are aimed at developing certain mindsets or character traits. In addition to helping practitioners make decisions about implementing pre-packaged programs, the guide is also a useful resource for those who want to build their own, independent approach to SEL without purchasing a formal curriculum.
Other key components of the guide include:
- Background information on SEL and its benefits, including key features of effective programs and common implementation challenges
- A summary of the evidence base for each of the 33 programs
- Recommendations for adapting the programs for OST settings
- Summary tables that allow consumers to compare unique features, program components, and instructional methods, as well as see which skills each program targets
- Recommendations for achieving equitable and trauma-informed SEL
- Detailed, individual profiles for each of the programs