The Benefits of Social-Emotional Learning for Elementary Students

As research continues to uncover the benefits of social-emotional learning (SEL), the demand for SEL programs in schools is on the rise. School districts are beginning to understand the importance of social-emotional learning, and here’s why:

First, studies show that social-emotional learning is highly effective in improving students’ emotional well-being and academic performance. Second, districts that have implemented SEL programs have noted positive changes in teacher feedback, student engagement, and overall school climate. 

Finally, social-emotional learning programs are proven to develop five core competencies in children. These include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.


Self-awareness is the ability to understand your thoughts, emotions, values, and goals. When you are able to recognize these things, it strengthens your sense of identity and purpose. Self-awareness develops a healthy mindset and self efficacy in students, setting them up for success in and outside of the classroom. 


Self-management means you are able to regulate your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. It plays a large role in your ability to manage stress, as well your ability to accomplish personal goals. Self-management develops students’ capacity to use planning and organizational skills, both of which are valuable skills in everyday life. 


Social-awareness is the ability to understand the perspectives of others. Someone with social-awareness will have empathy and compassion for all people, including those from diverse backgrounds. This competency helps to promote diversity by teaching students how to empathize with others and recognize unjust social norms. 

Relationship skills

Relationship skills give you the ability to create and maintain healthy relationships. These skills teach students how to effectively communicate, resolve conflict, and navigate different social settings. Teaching students how to build healthy relationships will instill the necessary interpersonal skills they need to succeed in life.  

Responsible decision-making 

Responsible decision-making is the ability to make smart choices about your behavior. It gives you the tools to use critical thinking, problem solve, and evaluate the consequences of your actions. When students learn about responsible decision-making, they can use these skills to make smart choices in their everyday lives. 

It is clear that social-emotional learning programs create a long list of benefits for all members of the school community. Developing the five core competencies in students not only equips them to excel academically, but it also prepares them to become productive members of society. 

As educators, we must prioritize students’ social and emotional well being just as much as their academic performance. It is important that educators not only teach SEL instruction, but also model it for their students. Successful social-emotional learning programs require all school members to be engaged in the SEL process.

Social-emotional learning programs help students to become kind, respectful, and well-rounded adults. Teaching students about relationship building, stress management, and decision-making equips them with the tools to become responsible citizens and thrive in all areas of life.

For more information on implementing social-emotional learning strategies for elementary students, please contact Austin Kids Can! Today!