On a gut-level, Social Emotional Learning (SEL) makes total sense. We know young people need whole-life tools to thrive. But what does the research say?
In short, Social-Emotional Learning works.
Here’s a run-down of some leading studies tracking social-emotional learning outcomes in the classroom and beyond.
- Social-Emotional Learning programs improve performance in both SEL areas and academic achievement. A 2011 analysis of 213 school SEL programs across age levels showed participating students did 11 points better in social-emotional skills and the classroom, too.
- Social-Emotional Learning can help reduce bullying, as part of a comprehensive approach. A 2013 analysis found SEL skills help kids form strong support systems and boosted emotional awareness—key components in bullying prevention.
- 2015 research connects kindergarten students with strong social-emotional skills to all kinds of good outcomes as young adults, including being less likely to abuse substances and need public assistance.
- Social-Emotional Learning programs’ benefits last a long time. In 2017, researchers looked at how kids’ well-being, years (up to 18!) after participating in SEL programs. They found that SEL exposure led to higher long-term academic performance and lower behavioral, emotional and substance abuse problems.
Science says social-emotional learning gives kids an edge immediately, and you know Camp Fire is all about the right now. But SEL also sets kids up for success as adults; we’ll get into that research in our next blog post!