This brief is part of a commissioned series that draws upon Navigating Social and Emotional Learning from the Inside Out, a resource that analyzes 25 widely-used SEL programs, providing comprehensive details, transparent information, and cross-program analyses about the various in-school and out- of-school-time programs currently available in the United States.

As schools have begun to bring social and emotional learning (SEL) into their curricula, a growing body of research suggests that focusing on SEL in out-of-school-time (OST) settings could have benefits for children as well. In fact, according to this brief by Harvard researchers, OST leaders are often more likely to say that SEL is central to their mission than education leaders. 

The brief draws on a content analysis of 25 top SEL programs by Stephanie Jones and her team at Harvard’s EASEL Lab and brings a sharper focus to programs that can be applied to an OST setting. While the group identified only three programs that explicitly target OST settings, they reviewed a number of others than can be adapted by OST programs. The adaptable programs focus on a variety of skills, employ different teaching strategies, provide varying levels of implementation support, and have different levels of effectiveness.

Practitioners can use charts to determine which programs are adaptable to their context, or have the potential to be. They can also read through the underlying principles of successful SEL implementation and grapple with the five key considerations for adapting a program.

An attachment includes a worksheet for OST settings with three hypothetical case studies.

 Points of Interest

  • A new brief by Harvard researchers provides a set of guidelines and considerations for adapting SEL programs for OST and for making decisions about SEL programming that best fit an organization’s needs and goals.
    Brief by Harvard researchers offers guidelines and considerations for adapting SEL programs to OST settings.
  • While only three of the top-25 evidenced-based SEL programs researched explicitly target out-of-school settings, others are designed for use across multiple settings or to be adapted based on context.
    3 of top-25 evidence-based SEL programs target OST but more can be adapted based on an org’s context.

 Supplementary Materials