Teach Children the Skills They Need to Thrive

Social-emotional learning helps students succeed in the classroom and throughout their lives.

Skills for Everyday Success

Children need social-emotional skills to thrive both in the classroom and in life. Social-emotional learning (SEL) curricula teach children techniques to:

  • Gain confidence
  • Set goals
  • Make better decisions
  • Collaborate with others in work and play
  • Navigate the world more effectively

Implementation Made Easy

Committee for Children’s research-based Second Step SEL gives teachers an easy-to-implement, engaging way to teach social-emotional skills and concepts. Second Step SEL is designed to help children thrive and be more successful in school—ultimately setting them up to be thoughtful and productive adults.

The Purpose of SEL: Let’s Be Clear

Social-emotional learning isn’t just a feel-good activity. It’s not psychotherapy or an attempt to parent kids. Nor is it a substitute for core academic subjects such as math, science, or literacy.

Decision Making
Decision Making

Instead, SEL concepts provide an extra dimension to education, focusing on improving cooperation, communication, and decision making. In a world where emotional intelligence is critical for lifelong happiness, successful careers, and healthier relationships, SEL gives students a framework for developing these skills.

Documented Benefits of SEL

Decades of research have demonstrated the benefits of SEL. A short list of research findings includes the items below.

SEL Skills Can Be Learned

Social-Emotional Skills Can Be Learned

Children learn social-emotional skills in a variety of ways, including the behavior they see modeled by the adults in their lives. But social-emotional skills and concepts can also be taught explicitly in the classroom, in much the same way math or reading is taught.

How SEL Is Taught in the Classroom

  • The teacher explains a concept with words, pictures, video, and/or audio
  • Students practice the concept through skill practice, group discussion, individual writing, or partner work
  • The teacher continues reinforcing the concept throughout the week
  • The teacher sends information home for students to work on with parents
  • The teacher checks for understanding
  • The teacher re-teaches where necessary

SEL Promotes Workforce Readiness

Increasingly, business leaders are listing emotional intelligence and collaborative skills alongside technical savvy or subject-matter mastery in their key recruitment criteria. But how exactly does social-emotional learning translate to the workplace?

Today’s fast-paced occupations require the critical skills SEL curricula teach, including:

Emotion Management
Emotion Management
Emotion Recognition
Emotion Recognition
Problem Solving
Problem Solving
Impulse Control
Impulse Control
Calming Down
Calming Down

SEL gives children an advantage in making their career dreams a reality. Read our white paper, “Why SEL and Employability Skills Should Be Prioritized in Education.”  (PDF)

free e book

Download Our Free Ebook

How Social-Emotional Learning Helps Children Succeed in School, the Workplace, and Life

This ebook features perspectives from a number of leading teachers, administrators, researchers, and education experts.

Download the Ebook


Joan Cole Duffell

Executive Director, Committee for Children

Roger P. Weissberg, PhD

Chief Knowledge Officer, CASEL

Alonda Williams

Senior Director for Education, Microsoft

Paul D. Eaton

Major General (Ret.), United States Army

Matt Segneri

Director, Social Enterprise Initiative (SEI), Harvard Business School

Meria Joel Carstarphen

Superintendent, Atlanta Public Schools

R. Keeth Matheny

Teacher, Austin (Texas) Independent School District

Andria Amador

Assistant Director of Behavior Health Services, Boston Public Schools

Reed Koch

Former President, Board of Directors, Committee for Children 

Dan Kranzler

Founder, Kirlin Charitable Foundation 

Related Blog Posts

How Second Step SEL Can Help

With 14 million children currently participating each year, Second Step SEL is the premier SEL program in the nation. We help educators create success in their schools and districts.

See How
  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.

Back to list of documented benefits