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Social Emotional Learning

What is S.E.L?

  • S.E.L stands for Social-emotional learning.
  • Social and emotional learning (SEL) covers a range of skills designed to help students to manage their emotions, learn emotional problem-solving and encourage prosocial behaviour.
  • It aims to support individuals to develop self-awareness and decision-making skills, as well as to improve overall wellbeing and resilience.
  • SEL targeted support programmes aim to help students to understand their own and other people’s emotions, learn emotional problem-solving and emotional regulation, and support the development of healthy social relationships.

At Pinders Primary School, we believe that relationships form the foundation for growth and development. Social-emotional learning (SEL) helps pupils access academic content through building essential self-management skills, resilience, and connections with others. 


What are the 5 concepts of social-emotional learning?

The following descriptions of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) are from CASEL. They address five broad, interrelated areas of competence and provide examples for each: 

  • self-awareness,
  • self-management,
  • social awareness,
  • relationship skills,
  • responsible decision-making.

5 SEL competencies explained:



Self-awareness involves understanding one's own emotions, personal goals, and values. This includes accurately assessing one's strengths and limitations, having positive mindsets, and possessing a well-grounded sense of self-efficacy and optimism. High levels of self-awareness require the ability to recognize how thoughts, feelings, and actions are interconnected.



Self-management requires skills and attitudes that facilitate the ability to regulate one's own emotions and behaviours. This includes the ability to delay gratification, manage stress, control impulses, and persevere through challenges in order to achieve personal and educational goals.

Social Awareness

Social awareness involves the ability to understand, empathize, and feel compassion for those with different backgrounds or cultures. It also involves understanding social norms for behaviour and recognizing family, school, and community resources and supports.

Relationship Skills

Relationship skills help students establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships, and to act in accordance with social norms. These skills involve communicating clearly, listening actively, cooperating, resisting inappropriate social pressure, negotiating conflict constructively, and seeking help when it is needed.

Responsible Decision Making

Responsible decision making involves learning how to make constructive choices about personal behaviour and social interactions across diverse settings. It requires the ability to consider ethical standards, safety concerns, accurate behavioural norms for risky behaviours, the health and well-being of self and others, and to make realistic evaluation of various actions' consequences.

School is one of the primary places where students learn social and emotional skills. An effective SEL program should incorporate four elements represented by the acronym SAFE:


  1. Sequenced: connected and coordinated sets of activities to foster skills development
  2. Active: active forms of learning to help students master new skills
  3. Focused: emphasis on developing personal and social skills
  4. Explicit: targeting specific social and emotional skills

All of the work we do with our pupils centers around developing these skills in order to support growth both socially and academically. Some specific examples of SEL experiences at Pinders Primary School include:

  • Discussions and co-creation of classroom agreements, including how we express feelings, how we treat one another, how we take care of materials and learning spaces, and how we do our best work

  • Individual and small group problem-solving discussions and the use of the restorative process and Inclusivity.

  • Developing individual and collective emotional awareness and specific vocabulary to express thoughts and feelings

Building Compassion 

Through our use of SEL, pupils learn early on that their voice matters and that they can be advocates for themselves and others. It is through the building of relationships and having meaningful interactions with others that we gain a fundamental respect and understanding of the world. Promoting a warm environment of inclusivity and respect helps to foster compassion in our students who can emerge as a new generation of leaders in a multicultural world. 


Building Collaboration

Learning in a social and collaborative environment allows for sharing thoughts, ideas, and words. We stretch our thinking by putting thoughts – fully formed, half-formed, or just budding ideas – into words. The opportunity for richer understanding and innovative problem solving exists when learning is social and collaborative. Different perspectives give room for comparing and contrasting ideas, words, and methods where problems can be solved in a number of ways.  Students learn to respect and value the contributions of each team member, as well as skills for resolving conflict when they arise.

Our teachers also model collaboration through team teaching and creating interdisciplinary lesson plans in conjunction with specialist teachers. Core subjects are integrated with the special subjects of art, music, library, physical education, and science.


We are sharing a few different resources for your further exploration of SEL and the multitude of ways it connects to child development.  Enjoy!