What is Social-Emotional Learning?

girl meditation in the morning circle

What is SEL?

According to CASEL, the leading organization for the research and advancement of social and emotional competencies, SEL can be defined as:

“the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.


CASEL Competencies

Every lesson in Empowering Education’s curriculum supports at least one of CASEL’s Five Core Competencies; taken as a whole our curriculum is a comprehensive foundation for all five competencies.

“CASEL has identified five interrelated sets of cognitive, affective and behavioral competencies. The definitions of the five competency clusters for students are:

Self-awareness: The ability to accurately recognize one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior. The ability to accurately assess one’s strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a “growth mindset.”

Self-management: The ability to successfully regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations — effectively managing stress, controlling impulses, and motivating oneself. The ability to set and work toward personal and academic goals.

Decision-making: The ability to make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on ethical standards, safety concerns, and social norms. The realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and a consideration of the well-being of oneself and others.

Relationship skills: The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. The ability to communicate clearly, listen well, cooperate with others, resist inappropriate social pressure, negotiate conflict constructively, and seek and offer help when needed.

Social awareness: The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures. The ability to understand social and ethical norms for behavior and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.

In simple terms: SEL educates the heart, while traditional academic learning educates the head. The 21st Century model of educating “the whole child,” then, is the process of bringing these two together. Our curriculum is designed to support both the social-emotional and academic growth of your students.

Free SEL Resources

positive affirmations for kindergarten

Roses and Thorns, Activity Sheet

sel 5 days a week

Empowering Education’s 5 Day SEL Plan

Free Social and Emotional Learning Workshop Seriess

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Articles