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Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire the knowledge, attitudes, and skills they need to:

  • recognize and manage their emotions;
  • demonstrate caring and concern for others;
  • establish positive relationships;
  • make responsible decisions; and
  • handle challenging situations constructively.

Quality SEL instruction in which students learn to process, integrate, and selectively apply SEL skills in developmentally, contextually and culturally appropriate ways in conjunction with a safe, caring, participatory and responsive school climate can result in positive outcomes including:

  • promotion of mental wellness;
  • prevention of mental health issues;
  • school connectedness;
  • reduction in student absenteeism;
  • reduction in suspensions;
  • adoption, implementation and institutionalization of new practices; and
  • improved academic outcomes.

As a result of the Children’s Mental Health Act of 2003, the Illinois State Board of Education adopted the Illinois Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Standards. Drafting of the 10 SEL standards, along with goals, age-appropriate benchmarks, and performance descriptors, was a collaborative effort between ISBE and the Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership with technical support from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL).

Integration of SEL into systems and practices is highly recommended. Integration can occur by:

  • examining existing systems and structures to determine how social and emotional learning efforts can be integrated into them;
  • embedding SEL instruction into existing curricula;
  • embedding SEL instruction into existing curricula;
  • taking advantage of teachable moments that occur naturally throughout the day
  • promoting students’ feelings of autonomy, relatedness, and competence; and
  • providing opportunities for students to practice social and emotional competencies.​

The Illinois State Board of Education partners with Illinois Classrooms in Action to provide a wide variety of resources, including social emotional learning competencies organized by grade band.

Visit the social emotional learning resource page.

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