You Know SEL is Important…Now How do You Apply it Afterschool?

You’ve reviewed the research. You’ve read the articles. You agree that social-emotional learning (SEL) is critical to academic and life success for students. . . Now what? It’s time to explore actual practices you can implement tomorrow in your afterschool program, and learn a little about the “why” behind it all. Since the publication of initial research in 1990, educational organizations have integrated emotional intelligence into their programs through the process of social-emotional learning (or SEL). Megan Agee, Director of Expanded Learning 360°/365 with Partnership for Children & Youth, shares that out-of-school time programs (afterschool, before school and summer) are ideal environments for SEL skill development. “Key features of expanded learning programs (such as activities that support exploration and discovery, frequent opportunities for youth to work in groups or teams, providing youth with avenues for self-expression and decision-making, and fostering relationships between youth and caring adults) create the conditions for youth and, importantly, the adults who work with them, to practice and build skills together,” explains Agee. A critical component to successfully implementing SEL in expanded learning programs is to ensure the individual program already has a solid foundation of program quality. […]