Over the past two decades, there has emerged a growing consensus among researchers who study child development, education, and health that social and emotional skills are essential to learning and life outcomes. Furthermore, research indicates that high-quality, evidence-based programs and policies that promote these skills among students can improve academic achievement as well as positive behavior, physical and mental wellbeing, college and career readiness, and economic productivity. However, there are a great number of SEL programs available for educators to choose from, and those programs vary widely in skill focus, teaching strategies, implementation supports, and general approach toward SEL.
The SEL Analysis Project looks inside leading SEL programs to identify key features and attributes of SEL programming and make general comparisons across varying approaches. The project involves conducting a rigorous content analysis of SEL programs to identify and summarize the skills targeted, instructional methods used, and programmatic features included within each program.
The goal of this work is (1) to provide schools and out-of-school-time organizations with the resources to make informed choices about which programs are most adaptable, doable, and feasible within their particular settings, and (2) to identify common strategies of effective SEL practice across programs.
In 2017, the EASEL Lab published results from the first phase of this work in Navigating Social and Emotional Learning from the Inside Out, a guide designed to help schools and out-of-school time organizations better understand the content and focus of SEL programs for grades K-5. The guide provides comprehensive program profiles and cross-program analyses for 25 SEL programs focused on grades K-5. Following the success of the first guide, our team is now working to update and expand the Navigating SEL guide to include additional programs with a focus PreK and middle/high school), with expected release dates in 2020 and 2021 respectively.