Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is the process in which students understand, recognize, and manage emotions, create and accomplish positive goals, understand and demonstrate empathy for others, develop and maintain positive and safe relationships, and foster decision-making skills. Addressing any educational gaps students may have experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is critical.
However, students may not be ready to participate in formal learning until they feel emotionally, physically, and psychologically safe. The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has developed the SEL Roadmap for Reopening Schools which outlines various techniques schools can use to sharpen their social and emotional competencies and create supportive learning environments where all students can heal and thrive.
CASEL has identified four SEL critical practices to assist schools with SEL reopening plans:
1. Take time to cultivate and deepen relationships, build partnerships, and plan for SEL.
2. Design opportunities where adults can connect, heal, and build their capacity to support students.
3. Create safe, supportive, and equitable learning environments that promote all students’ social and emotional development.
4. Use data as an opportunity to share power, deepen relationships, and continuously improve support for students, families, and staff. Schools can use this roadmap to build on current efforts around community-building, school climate improvement, student well-being and mental health, trauma-responsive learning environments, restorative practices, and social and emotional competency development.