The SEL competencies are both integral to and significant goals and outcomes of PYD. DYCD highlights CASEL's 5 SEL Core Compentencies

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is the process through which young people acquire SEL competencies (i.e., the knowledge, attitudes, and skills) that they need to thrive in school and beyond. These competencies, identified by the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), are: (1) selfmanagment; (2) self-awareness; (3) responsible decision-making; (4) relationship skills; and (5) social awareness.

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to:

• Understand and manage emotions,
• Set and achieve positive goals,
• Feel and show empathy for others,
• Establish and maintain positive relationships, and
• Make responsible decisions

Social and emotional skills are critical to being a good student, citizen, and worker. SEL skills are developed in safe and supportive learning environments such as schools, after-school programs, the family, and the community where individuals feel valued and respected. SEL skills are fundamental to social and emotional development and effective life functioning, and have a critical impact on mental health, ethical development, motivation, and academic achievement.

SEL, as such, is not a program. However, many programs provide youth with instruction in and opportunities to practice, apply, and be recognized for using SEL skills in appropriate ways. Effective instructional methods for teaching SEL skills involve active and engaging learning approaches.

To promote SEL, program staff need to:

  • Be SEL role models
  • Provide opportunities for participants to practice and apply the SEL skills they have been taught
  • Provide opportunities for participants to evaluate themselves or self-assess
  • Use participatory instructional methods that draw on participants’ experience to engage them in learning
  • Emphasize participants’ strengths before addressing areas where there is room for improvement
  • Partner with participants’ families and schools to promote SEL, when this is relevant and suitable
  • Give participants choices and help them identify the pros and cons of alternative solutions to problems
  • Make sure that inappropriate behavior is handled with fairness and consistency
  • Encourage participation in community service projects
  • Encourage participants to discuss how they or other people may or may not express understanding of the feelings of others or make use of problem-solving skills

Click on image above to download the SEL framework.

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Resources:

Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility
Sanford and Harmony


Despite which framework or approach you take, researchers have identified common features of programs that promote positive SEL outcomes. Best practice programs are "SAFE":

Sequential: skills are taught through sequenced activities
Active: youth have opportunities to actively practice skills
Focused: focused time is set aside for skill development
Explicit: programs explicitly target specific skills

The goal of participatory instructional methods is to help participants understand the social, historical, or cultural forces that affects their lives, and then to help participants take action and make decisions in order to gain control over their lives (See Paulo Freire).


  • Use content relevant to participants' lives
  • Embed problem-solving and reflection in activity design and allow for the capacity to experiment with one's surroundings as a form of problemsolving
  • Provide opportunities for participants to evaluate themselves or self-assess
  • Encourage participants to use their knowledge to act in the society
  • Teach communication and language skills to prompt action for change
  • Encourage participants to create their own materials as text for others
  • Recognize that knowledge becomes a tool to help participants find a voice
  • Provide opportunity to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information sources
  • Provide participants the ability to search for, synthesize, and disseminate information
  • Provide the ability to meaningfully sample and remix media content