Social Emotional Learning

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Powerful tools for building resilience and supporting wellbeing. Made for students, families, and educators!

Tools that include:

  • Deep breathing

  • Relaxing muscles

  • Taking a walk

  • Yoga (+)

Tools that include:

  • Mindfulness

  • Coloring pages

  • Positive self-talk

  • Counting (+)

Tools that include:

  • Naming your feeling

  • Talking it out

  • Journaling (+)

Tools that include:

  • Nature sounds

  • Calming music

  • Moving to a break space (+)

Tools that include:

  • Caring for health and wellness

  • Making time for yourself (+)

What is Social Emotional Learning (SEL)?

SEL means learning to manage emotions, show self-control, set goals, stay disciplined and organized, bounce back from setbacks, make good choices, resolve conflicts, and much more. These are critical skills that help children to succeed in school and thrive in life.

SEL is happening in every school, whether we call it "SEL" or not. In fact, this work has occurred in schools for as long as schools have existed. What continues to evolve are the tools and approaches that we use to teach these skills to children.

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What skills do people learn through SEL?

SEL skills are generally divided into five core competency areas. After reading the short explanations below, click the "Learn More" button if you're curious about the Minnesota benchmarks for these skills at each grade level.


  • Recognizing emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior

  • Assessing one’s strengths and limitations

  • Holding a well grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a “growth mindset"


  • Regulating emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations

  • Managing stress and controlling impulses

  • Setting and self-motivating to work toward personal and academic goals

Social Awareness

  • Perspective-taking and empathizing with others, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures

  • Understanding appropriate social behavior

  • Recognizing support resources such as family, school, and the community

Relationship Skills

  • Creating and maintaining healthy relationships with individuals and groups

  • Communicating and listening effectively

  • Cooperating, resisting harmful social pressure, and managing conflict

  • Seeking and offering help when needed

Responsible Decision Making

  • Making ethical, constructive decisions by considering the wellbeing of oneself and others

  • Forming a realistic understanding of consequences

How do people learn these SEL skills?

SEL is a very big umbrella that includes many practices and systems in a school. After reading the summary below, click the "Learn More" button if you're curious about the resources made available to help schools continuously improve their SEL.

SEL Instruction

Teachers and other educators help students understand the "why, how, and when" of different SEL skills. They model skills using videos, role playing, etc. They help students practice and give constructive feedback. Teachers also blend SEL into other subjects like math, language arts, and social studies.

Supportive Classroom and School Climates

Educators set up students to use their SEL skills successfully and then recognize when students do well. This is accomplished through building strong relationships, clearly communicating behavior expectations, providing engaging instruction, and much more.

Supportive Discipline

When students make mistakes, educators help them to keep the mistakes small and to avoid repeating them. Discipline practices help students to manage their emotions, reflect on their behavior, problem solve, enhance their SEL skills, and repair damaged relationships.

A Continuum of Integrated Supports

When students are not making adequate progress in the core curriculum, they are provided with additional teaching and support. Educators set goals to help students "close the gap" with their peers, and we keep track of their progress.

Educator SEL

Educators cultivate their own SEL competence and practice self-care. They build strong, trusting school teams and collaborate to continuously improve all SEL-related systems, practices, and policies.

Stakeholder Partnerships

Schools engage students as SEL leaders and problem solvers. Schools collaborate with families and community partners to align on common language and strategies for supporting students' SEL.