Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

Allowing all children and youth the opportunity to thrive as they move through school and into their adult lives requires that they develop the skills and competencies to help them navigate challenges they may face, keep positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. While families are central to the development of these skills, others who interact with students can also play a major role. Strong expanded learning programs and professionals should apply an approach to behavior management that reinforces social-emotional skill-building. Afterschool, summer, and expanded learning programs provide a unique opportunity for children and youth to cultivate skills such as self management and teamwork. These programs allow all students to explore their interests and boost their confidence in a safe and secure environment.

Several studies have shown that high-quality afterschool programs with intentional and targeted SEL programs contribute to improved self-concept, improved social behaviors, and reduced problem behaviors (American Institutes for Research, 2015). Systemic SEL implementation includes aligning afterschool, summer school, expanded learning, and community school programs and activities with a school’s SEL principles, policies, and practices. Further, it is important to ensure that afterschool, summer school, expanded learning, and community school staff participate in SEL professional development to ensure consistency of SEL across the various settings in which students participate.

Useful Resources

The Wallace Foundation’s Guide for Best SEL Practices in OST

Supporting Social and Emotional Development Through Quality Afterschool Programs

In this first brief of their series, Beyond the Bell: Research to Practice in the Afterschool and Expanded Learning Field, The American Institute for Research (AIR) focuses on how afterschool, summer, and expanded learning programs contribute to the development of social and emotional competencies in young people. This brief provides an overview of work done to date both in afterschool and school-based settings to define social and emotional learning, shares recent research on how programs contribute to the development of these competencies, and offers some next step recommendations to both practitioners and researchers. Click here to find this brief!

Social Emotional Learning: Essential for Learning, Essential for Life, Essential for New York

NYS has offered new guidance and benchmarks for SEL, which includes schools working with afterschool providers, who they consider to be one of the contributors to school culture. Click here to find them!