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.

The implementation and support of quality social and emotional learning through research-based processes and practices, have been shown to enhance the well-being of learners, overall achievement and positive life outcomes.


Students supported by intentional social and emotional learning instruction:

  • develop increased capacity for school engagement, learning opportunities, and academic achievement;
  • develop self-awareness skills to monitor emotions with greater understanding of the impact on well-being;
  • recognize and respect the perspective of others, and have greater appreciation for diversity in groups and communities;
  • conceptualize and espouse increased compassion and empathy for others, forming foundations for social awareness;
  • understand and take responsibility for their actions, and make constructive and ethical decisions with regards to personal and social behaviour;
  • recognize the importance of social awareness in the development of self-concept and personal identity;
  • develop and maintain healthy relationships; and,
  • value and bridge the links between school and home, creating connections for learning.

Teachers create and facilitate increased capacity for positive student development when they focus on social and emotional learning by:

  • fostering a classroom climate that increases student personal, positive perception of well-being and belonging;
  • appreciating the dynamic and vital nature of high-quality student-teacher relationships that will positively impact school engagement and student success;
  • implementing evidenced-based curriculum and programs that incorporate explicit, sequenced, and active forms of skill development;
  • adopting specific instructional components that foster caring, engaging and participatory learning that shapes school attachment, motivation to learn, and increased academic achievement; and,
  • aligning classroom instruction in social and emotional development with school, family, and community values.