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. 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 25 leading SEL programs to identify key features and attributes of SEL programming for elementary-age children 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 information gathered from the content analysis will be used to (1) 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) identify common strategies of effective SEL practice across programs.