- Social-emotional learning (also called “SEL”) takes the whole child into consideration, helping build character with skills that aid personal development and interpersonal communications.
- District Administration reports that SEL teaches students to “understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain relationships, and make responsible decisions.”
- A 2011 study of 213 SEL programs published in the journal Child Development found that SEL students demonstrated “significantly improved" interpersonal skills and academic performance as compared to peers.
SEL learning can be helped along by a counselor who visits classes, or it can be incorporated into lessons as part of a regular curriculum that stresses problem-solving and “activities promoting moment-by-moment awareness of thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations.”
“Building the social and emotional consciousness of non-disabled kids promotes a climate of inclusion and tolerance of different needs,” Melissa Schlinger, Vice President of Programs and Practice at the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning told District Administration. “It also helps special needs kids develop their own social and emotional competence.”
SEL falls under the umbrella of the holistic “whole child” model, where external factors are considered in addition to traditional education. Community schools have spread in the U.S, including in Minneapolis, and in California's Hayward Unified School District. Similarly, in Rochester, NY, a “Beacon” school offers coordinated social services that include free healthcare and meals. Therapeutic schools are another successful alternative approach that consider the personal wellbeing of students as well as their academic wellbeing.