Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is the process through which young people acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions; set and achieve goals; demonstrate empathy for others; establish and maintain positive relationships, and make effective decisions. It includes a number of competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making.

Principles of Learning Wordmark

  • Learning requires exploration of one’s identity.
  • Learning is holistic, reflexive, reflective, experiential, and relational (focused on connectedness, on reciprocal relationships, and a sense of place).

We know and believe that the implementation and support of quality social and emotional learning (SEL) through research-based processes and practices have been shown to enhance the well-being of learners, overall achievement, and positive life outcomes. Through a growing awareness of the Core Competencies, learners develop essential intellectual, personal, and social-emotional proficiencies in order to engage in deep and life-long learning and become thoughtful, ethical and active citizens.


SEL teachers work with school staff in a co-facilitation model in all 5 areas of our district – 80 classrooms this year – to increase knowledge regarding:

  • The importance of school climate and culture for positive pro-social outcomes;
  • Adoption of select evidence-based SEL programs and curricula, for explicit and intentional instruction; and
  • Implementing an inquiry-based approach to professional learning regarding SEL – ‘School Planning as an Inquiry Process’. In 2016-2017, approximately 40% of our schools used an inquiry process to investigate school-based questions related to SEL.

Our classroom teachers design learning environments focused on implementing the latest research in cognitive neuroscience and mindfulness in education to enhance the well-being of all who are part of the learning community.

When asked questions such as, “What does it mean to have courage?” and “Who or what supports your ability to be resilient?” the following Grade 4-6 Surrey students reflect on and share their experiences and how they apply specific knowledge, skills, and attitudes in order to manage emotions: