Over the last 20 years, we’ve seen interest in and resources to support social emotional learning skyrocket – and that’s something to celebrate! In case you’ve missed it, there is substantial evidence that social emotional learning improves students’ academic performance, classroom behavior, and ability to manage intense emotions, including anxiety and depression (CASEL - The Benefits of SEL). As our nation navigates a youth mental health crisis alongside worsening academic performance in the aftermath of COVID-19, it’s fair to say, SEL needs to be front and center in any recovery plans.
So where do we begin? Let’s start by using #SELDay as an opportunity to better understand social emotional learning, share its benefits and prioritize it in our own lives.
Be sure you understand what Social Emotional Learning is and what it is not. There’s a lot of misinformation out there right now. Opponents of social emotional learning would have you believe that SEL is indoctrination, when in fact critical thinking is essential for core SEL skills, particularly social awareness and responsible decision-making. To better understand what SEL is and what it looks like, I recommend checking out the resources below.
LISTEN: National PTA’s Notes from the Backpack Episode “What is SEL Anyway?” featuring CASEL’s Karen Van Ausdal
WATCH: CASEL’s short video, “What is Social Emotional Learning?”
READ: Jennifer Miller’s blog post “About Social Emotional Development”
Advocate for Social Emotional Learning. Social Emotional Learning is under attack and our kids need us to stand up and fight back. Urban Assembly and SEL4US, the organizers of SEL Day, have created several advocacy-focused toolkits for families and educators to use. Get started with any of the templates below.
Share SEL Day with teachers and families at your school and ask them to sign up to learn more and join the celebration
Connect with policymakers by setting up a meeting or inviting them to an SEL event
Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper
Get your kids (or students) involved! Student voice is an important element of SEL, so don’t forget to uplift youth in your celebration. SEL Day is an opportunity to strengthen your relationships with your children. Get started with some of the options below or ask your child if they have ideas of their own.
Hone your SEL skill as a family with these activities from National PTA
Encourage older students to participate in advocating for SEL and ask them to share their SEL superpowers on social media
Have younger children tune into Committee for Children’s podcast, Imagine Neighborhood, to build their SEL skills through fun and engaging storytelling
How will you celebrate SEL Day? Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #SELDay and let us know!