SEL Instruction and Enhancement Programs
See for Yourself:
Some of the Programs
This is a section for anyone who wants to learn more about the specific, numerous and differing social and emotional instructional programs currently on the educational and home markets.
Here we offer brief introductions and links to individual program websites in two broad categories. (1) Classroom instruction programs with materials that educate students step by step in the core mindsets and skills associated with SEL. And (2) supportive programs such as Mindfulness and SEL-oriented yoga programs that can amplify or set the stage for comprehensive SEL instruction programs.
The list is partial and will be added to. You can inform us of programs that deserve to be listed.
Instructional programs that advance social and emotional learning tend to be variations on a theme. The theme is healthy emotional balance and relationship skills but the books, videos and classroom games to get there often will use somewhat different language and approaches.
Primarily created by child-development experts, educators, and university-based academics, these programs offer a range of curricula to suit many different school contexts and can also differ in their core elements. Some, for example, already include “mindfulness” training; others don’t. Some programs for violence reduction are always classified as SEL-oriented; some are not, depending on their elements.
A core responsibility of school administrators – and indeed parents at home – is to find the right program or programs match for their schools or home.
Dozens of companies and institutions offer evidence-based instructional programs to schools. Hundreds of other non-tested programs are also available to schools and parents, ranging from full-curricula immersions to online interactions to specialized or after-school programs.
Overall, they seek to catalyze a universe of schools that are supportive, joyful learning environments dedicated to helping what educators call “the whole child” to succeed.
For capsule summaries of many individual programs and links to their websites, click on the category tabs to the right.
High Scope Educational Approach highscope.org – (pre k) “supports developmentally appropriate instruction” and “integrates academic, social, and emotional learning” through language, literacy, and communication; social and emotional development; physical development, health, and well-being; and arts and sciences… Hi Scope emphasizes participatory learning, positive adult-child interactions, and optimal learning environment, regular routines, and assessment.” Hi Scope encourages home visits, with special assistance for ESL students and families.
The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu is focused on promoting the social emotional development and school readiness of young children birth to age 5, funded by Head Start, with several State partnerships. CSEFEL offers “ user-friendly training materials, videos, and print resources which are available directly from this website to help early care, health and education “
I Can Problem Solve – http://www.icanproblemsolve.info (pre-k, k-6)” teaches students how to generate alternative solutions, anticipate consequences, and effectively solve problems.” Is divided into three sets of lessons for prekindergarten (59 lessons), kindergarten and primary grades (83 lessons), and intermediate elementary grades (77 lessons) which focus on intervention and problem solving skills and social and emotional competencies. Dialoging is a central component of this program. Lessons are reinforced throughout the day and include parent resources.
The Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) http://www.channing-bete.com (prek-6) program that “promotes peaceful conflict resolution, emotion regulation, empathy, and responsible decision making.” Lessons are designed to go beyond the classroom and incorporate a variety of cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds. Parent letters and informational handouts are available in English and Spanish.
The Positive Action Classroom Curriculum https://www.positiveaction.net (prek-12) program is “designed to promote a healthy self-concept and to establish positive actions for the body and mind.” The program emphasizes effective self-management, social skills, character, and mental health, as well as skills for setting and achieving goals.” The Positive Action classroom curriculum contains separate sets of lessons for use each year, from prekindergarten through twelfth grade based on the philosophy that positive action promotes positive self-concept.
Second Step http://www.cfchildren.org/second-step (pre-k- 8) builds SEL (“empathy, emotion management, friendship skills, and problem solving. …)” as well as executive functioning skills through weekly theme activities, reinforcing activities and home links and literacy, arts, and dramatic arts.) Second Step lessons and accompanying photographs incorporate a variety of cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds. Home Link activities are available in English and Spanish.
Tools of the Mind http://toolsofthemind.org (pre k-k) promotes “self-regulated learning and is designed to be embedded within the classroom. It focuses on early literacy, mathematics, and other cognitive competencies such as self-reflection. Designed to help students “control their social, emotional, and cognitive behaviors.” The program provides structure and handouts for parents who wish to reinforce the activities with their children. Training is not required.
Move With Me Yoga Adventures
Provides educators with a 30-week standards and activity based curriculum that can be used as is or in parts to fulfill early learning framework and common core standards for physical health & development, creative arts and social-emotional learning. The thematic, innovative lesson plans integrate stories, movement, music, mindfulness, arts expression, and self-regulation skills. Children learn how their brains and bodies work and how to work with them to build fitness, focus, learning success, and social-emotional competence.
Care 4 Teachers
Care offers them tools and resources for “reducing stress, preventing burnout, enlivening teaching and helping students thrive socially, emotionally and academically. Week long summer retreat or full day in school program are offered. CARE Promotes understanding, recognition and regulation of emotion it is designed to “reduce stress, and to promote awareness and presence applied to teaching”, CARE introduces basic mindfulness activities and progresses to activities that demonstrate how to bring mindfulness to challenging situations teachers often encounter. Goals include bringing greater calm, mindfulness and awareness into the classroom to enhance their relationships with their students, their classroom management, and curricular implementation. The CARE program also promotes empathy and compassion through caring practice and mindful listening activities.”
Inner Kids Program (Colorado and Vancouver)
Age group targeted: Pre-K-8
No. years in use: 11
“Program principals, methods, length, and supporting peer-reviewed research The New ABCs—Attention, Balance and Compassion—are taught through games, activities, instruction and sharing to develop:
(1) Awareness of inner experience (thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations); (2) awareness of outer experience (people, places and things); (3) awareness of both together without blending the two.
Program length and frequency varies depending on students’ ages and the needs of the facility. In general, young children meet twice a week for 30-min sessions for 8 weeks. Older children meet once a week for approx. 45 min for 10–12 weeks.
A general formula is used of play, followed by introspection, and then sharing to help children to: better understand their introspective experience; relate it to their daily lives; and understand the importance of helping within both their families and their communities.
Inner Resilience Program (IRP)
K-8, teachers, parents, and administrators
Integrating social and emotional learning with contemplative practice. The mindfulness-based approaches used in IRP help create healthy environments for teaching and learning by assisting both teachers and students to hone the skills of self-regulation, attention, and caring for others. The underlying principle of teaching specific skills to teachers and students through sustained practice and the development of a mindful classroom environment may provide value-added benefits because of the emphasis on repeated practice of skills over time in the context of a caring learning community.
Weekend residential retreats for school staff, professional development workshops, individual stress reduction sessions, and parent workshops at school sites. IRP has also developed a K-8 curriculum: Building Resilience from the Inside Out. The curriculum involves a 10-h training and follow-up staff development visits to each individual classroom of the teachers trained.
The IRP framework has the following essential ingredients: regular classroom instruction to develop students’ social, emotional and inner life skills; a more mindful approach to behavior and classroom management aligned with Inner Resilience methods; a safe, orderly and peaceful classroom climate.
The focus of mindfulness educational practices is grounded in contemplative neuroscience including the concept of neuroplasticity—the notion that the brain is the key organ in the body that is designed to change in response to experience and training of various kinds. Marrying the idea of neuroplasticity with the kinds of mental training offered by contemplative practices, educators are learning just how much we can train the mind and change our brains/bodies in the directions of greater attentional focus, emotional calm, awareness and insight, and caring for others.” ( source: mindfuleducation.org)
12 week in school research-based program for teens
The Inner Strength Foundation provides “innovative programs that use mindfulness training and perspectives in cultural development to help the youth of today become the great leaders of tomorrow.” The program introduces self-reflective skills fostering mind awareness, brain science ( biological growth stages and evolutionary conditioning, historical cultural context teens understand experiences through, and the art of relationship.
Learning to BREATHE
Learning to BREATHE (six or 18 sessions) High school program to “ help students (1) recognize the nature of emotions in order to act on them more thoughtfully, (2) understand the nature of thoughts in order to let go of the ones that are harmful to self and others, and (3) improve awareness of physical sensations in order to foster health and well-being.”
Teachers receive “eight weekly two-hour after-school training sessions based on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. The first four sessions focus primarily on the teacher’s own mindful awareness practice. The remaining sessions focus on helping teachers to become more mindful during teaching.
is a teacher training program designed to support educators in developing a personal mindfulness practice before they introduce mindfulness to their students. stress reduction, compassion and attention are the first focal points of the program. Online training as well as personal in school training is available.
Pre K – 8 online weekly wellness mindful program focuses on
- Problem solving
- Forward thinking
- Impulse control
- Decision making
- 91% of Mindful Life™ trained teachers report significant improvement in their students’ listening skills
- 82% of Mindful Life™ trained teachers report significant improvement in their students’ attention span
Curriculum is “adaptable for classrooms, after-school programs, clinical settings, and home.” It uses developmentally appropriate language for explaining key mindfulness concepts and practices to youth. Course graduates report strong improvements in job satisfaction, connecting with youth, delivering school curriculum, and student behavior (attention, self-regulation, engagement, compassion). Course includes:
- K-5 Curriculum (30 modules for ages 5-12)
- Middle & High School Curriculum (25 modules for ages 12-17)
- Student workbooks
- Manual on facilitation & classroom management
- Summaries of neuroscience concepts
- Program evaluation tools
- Research on mindfulness and youth
- Basic neuroscience of attention and emotion.
Teachers must complete mindfulness training before using the program. Appropriate trainings are recommended on website.
In its first 5 years, Mindful Schools has brought an in-class program to more than 11,000 children in 41 schools, 71% of which serve low-income students. The 15-session program delivered over 8 weeks engages children through lessons including mindfulness of sound, breath, body, emotions, test taking, generosity, appreciation, kindness and caring, and others. They offer parent classes at the schools where they teach and in the coming year will provide a mindfulness manual for parents. They have trained 1,500 educators through a Mindfulness Fundamentals Course, a Curriculum Course, and conferences. “ (source: mindfuleducation.org)
is a resource guide for mindfulness in education. It includes articles, blogs, and links that help support educators in practicing mindfulness and self-care.
Mindfulness in Education
is “a collaborative association of organizations and individuals working together to support mindfulness training as a component for k-12 education.”
Mindfulness-based wellness education
Teacher’s in training course “is an 8-week program teaching formal mindfulness practices as a foundation for cultivating an awareness of one’s health or ill-health in the physical, social, emotional, ecological, vocational, mental and spiritual domains of human existence. It is designed as a health promotion intervention for individuals who are at risk of developing stress related problems, such as is the case of human services professionals.”
Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP) England
The backbone of this curriculum is a 9-week course. Core MBSR/MBCT teachings are distilled and made accessible for an adolescent audience. Teachings include: mindfulness of breath, body scan, mindful eating, mindful movement, mindfulness of thought and sound, several variations on the 3 min silence, and mindful texting. The program is offered during normal school lessons.
Mindfulness Every Day
Offers MBSR Training, Professional Development and resources for Educators
The teen program introduces mindful practices
- Enhancing Health and Well-Being by:
- Reducing stress
- Supporting emotional regulation and balance
- Teaching the science on how the brain affects behavior and learning
- Cultivating present-moment attention
- Mindful Edge curriculum develops internal resources that enhance health and well-being through:
- Increasing understanding of the mind-body connection, attitudes, and relationships
- Developing the ability to replace impulsive reactions with thoughtful responses, making suitable choices which do no harm to one’s self or others
- Raising awareness of habitual, auto-pilot-driven behavior
- Encouraging empathy, compassion and sense of community
“establishes core practices of deep breathing and attentive listening, which are then practiced several times a day throughout the school year. These practices are designed to enhance students’ self-awareness, focus attention, promote self-regulation, and reduce stress.” It encourages a positive classroom environment where students feel safe expressing.
Institute offers educators and administrators a variety of courses using the engaged teacher’s approach which supports Social and Emotional Learning, Mindfulness, Cultural responsiveness, and whole systems thinking. The curriculum, pedagogy, and format of the training programs are a blended version of both SMART in Education™, USA and AMD. Courses are online, intern and practicum seminars.
Still Quiet Place
Pre k-12, parents and teachers
“Offers age appropriate mindfulness and inquiry based practices for school age children. It focuses on developing mindful awareness to support participants in responding rather than reacting to difficult situations, and in cultivating peace and happiness. Mindfulness practices taught include awareness of: Breath, Body, Thoughts, Feelings, Loving Kindness, and Walking, as well as Yoga, Mindfulness in Daily life, and Responding vs. Reacting.
Sessions are 45 min to 11⁄2 h every week for 8 weeks depending on the setting. “ (source: mindfuleducation.org)
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Teens (MBSR-T) is closely related to the traditional MBSR program created by Jon Kabat-Zinn and colleagues at the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester, MA. The primary focus is on formal and informal mindfulness practices.
Specific mindfulness practices taught include: Body scan, Walking meditation, Sitting meditation, Sitting meditation with heartfulness, Yoga, Mindful stopping, Mindful homework/test taking.
This is an 8-week program for 1.5–2 h per week.
*Biegel et al. (2009). Journal of Clinical and Consulting Psychology, 77, 855–866.
Wake Up Schools
Tihch Nhat Hahn’s initiative “supports educators to bring the practices of mindfulness and applied ethics into their own lives so they may be happy and free, and so they may in turn share these practices with colleagues and students in their school communities.“
Wellness Works in Schools
Based on mindful awareness principles and practices. The program responds to contemporary educational challenges by helping students develop skills to address important issues like: stress, mental health, emotional balance, behavior, and learning readiness. Wellness Works embraces a whole person/whole child perspective and is grounded on universal health and wellness principles, validated by contemporary medical and science-based research.
Series of 8–15 sessions, 45–50 min each, with sequenced lessons (according to grade level and readiness). Students explore emotions, intentions, goals, resilience, and problem-solving skills.
An integral part of our program is our Wellness Works: Classroom Integration Teacher TrainingTM (CITT). The training is conducted in a series of sessions, approximately 8–12 h, to assist teachers in strengthening their mindfulness skills and, with practice, more fully integrating mindful awareness approaches in their classrooms for both themselves and their students.
Research to date:
See the website of Wellness Works in SchoolsTM for internal research that is not as yet peer-reviewed.
Like Mindfulness programs, in-school and after-school yoga programs have made inroads in child training in skills akin to those promoted by SEL and are becoming increasing popular. Below are some of the leading programs, most of them regional but worth a perusal by parents.
Move With Me Yoga Adventures
Offers active play and self-regulation resources for home and classroom. Their unique yoga story video series teaches kids specific self-regulation skills reinforced on flash cards. Participation enhances fitness, coordination, mindfulness, focus, impulse control, emotional resilience, self-care, and empathy.
Grounded Kids Yoga.com
A leader in children and youth yoga, Grounded provides an extensive array of in and out of school offerings at all grade levels, plus teacher and administrator training and after-school yoga clubs.
Little Flower Yoga
With the mission to bring yoga and mindfulness to children, they train schools, youth organizations, teachers and families in comprehensive yoga and mindfulness programs. This includes books, online courses, webinars, blogs and videos. There is also a listing of various workshops and special events.
The programs aim to build resilience, focus and self-regulation through yoga, mindfulness and classroom pedagogy. They offer 3 categories of programs :
- School-based programs (for educators, parents & families as well as students)
- Therapy- based programs (needs of special children, pediatric and preschool)
- Radiant Child Yoga (children and family yoga training and yoga for differently-abled children)
Their school based programs include: professional development trainings for administrators, teachers, therapy staff and parents; consultation and follow-up support and weekly classroom lessons led by their teachers, all of which are aimed at equipping administrators, teachers, parents and students with essential skills for effective leadership, personal well-being and academic success.
Training educators, clinicians and parents how to integrate yoga-based movement, breathing techniques, mindfulness and social/emotional skills into classroom and therapeutic settings.
ChildLight Yoga provides yoga and mindfulness education to youth and training for professionals who support their well-being. The strategies they share, which they claim are simple and effective, promote resilience, positive perceptions, good health habits and mindful awareness, with a goal of empowering children to excel at school, at home and in life. They state that their trainings and products have inspired thousands of educators, parents, kids yoga teachers, therapists and others to share the transformative gifts of yoga and mindfulness in schools and communities worldwide.
The Childrens School of Yoga
Seeks to be a child’s first yoga teacher and aid them to incorporate it into their daily life in order to continue practicing yoga into their adult life. Includes blogs on meditation and breathing and special events.
Portland’s school based program offering fun and engaging yoga classes designed for kids upwards of two years. They seek to use yoga as a way to build positive change in the children. The classes also incorporate mindful awareness exercises. They also offer mobile enrichment programs for daycares, preschools, elementary and medical schools and adult yoga certifications. The program offers summer camps which are open to all children from the Portland metro area.
Teaches yoga and mindfulness to children and youth to support enhanced outcomes for life, health, school and leadership. It identifies three pathways :
- Connecting to self
- Connecting to school
- Connecting to society
And seeks to achieve its outcome of helping children and youth be empowered,
resilient, engaged and mindful. Yokid students support themselves, create a positive environment and contribute to their school and community. Also offers numerous resources for kids, teens, teachers and parents. and tools and activities. It was a charity beneficiary of the 2016 Marine Corp Marathon and all money raised by runners support yoga programs for at-risk and under-served youth in DC, MD and VA. They were one of the founders of the NKYC (National Kids Yoga Conference) that was held in DC during Sep 30-Oct 2, 2016.
Flower and Grow Kids Yoga
Offers Yoga training, professional development and workshops not only to children but also to educators, parents, clinicians and other important adults in the lives of children. The programs includes yoga at home(for individuals, couples, families, prenatal or just children) and yoga at school( chair yoga, yoga before during and after school), yoga workbooks, teacher training, stress management workshops, self-care workshops and mindfulness workshops.
Yoga 4 Classrooms
Yoga 4 Classrooms describes itself as an evidence-based, classroom-friendly yoga
and mindfulness program that provides schools with easy-to-use, cost-effective, sustainable solutions for improving student wellness and readiness to learn while supporting social and emotional learning and a positive school climate. Among other attributes, Yoga 4 Classrooms empowers schools to integrate simple, developmentally-appropriate mind/body tools throughout the class day to support social, emotional, physical and cognitive well-being and it facilitate learning-readiness, which improves student achievement
Kids yoga programs are designed for every age group and can accommodate every type of student. Their programs include after-school yoga programs, during the school day yoga programs as per the school’s option and yoga/mindfulness programs in the classroom. Apart from these the team organizes summer camps, yoga birthday parties and kid’s night outs.
Yoga In My School
Classes aim to provide real world training and examples of how teaching yoga to children can be a powerful tool to aid their development. Their yoga programs are flexible and customized to meet the school’s needs such as preschool/daycare, elementary, junior and senior high, athletic teams, girl guides and camps. They also have programs for teacher training through online and weekend workshops. Videos, webinars, manuals and lesson plans are available on their website.
Yoga in Schools
Aims to promote lifetime wellness by making yoga available in all schools and empowering students and teachers with yoga-inspired exercises. Their programs include custom school programs, Health & Physical Education teacher professional development, and mind body tools for teaching and trainings. Some of their events include Kripalu yoga in schools symposium and yoga service conferences.
The Little Yoga House
Austin’s first kids-only studios and high school offers prenatal yoga, mommy & me style classes and kids aerial yoga classes. Their offerings in school include semester long programs with a focus on mindfulness and other specific yogic themes. Private yoga and yoga camps are also offe
A nonprofit that aims to empower at-risk youth in K-12 to combat toxic stress through mindfulness, yoga and character education. Their program combines mindfulness, yoga, physical activities and social & emotional learning as an integrated part of a school’s curriculum. They provide opportunities to volunteer.