Social emotional learning (SEL) is the heartbeat of the classroom. It connects students, making them feel safe and secure before academics are addressed.  In these unprecedented times meeting students’ SEL needs should continue to be a top priority.

Research suggests that a child’s future success is not only determined by cognitive skills, as previously thought. Rather, their social and emotional skills as related to character, optimism and self-awareness are also considered to be important factors in their future success. Research also supports that the arts are powerful for learning as they can reach us at our own personal level of understanding while expanding our understanding of other content. During this unprecedented time of change in education, it is even more important to reach all of our students and meet their social and emotional needs while teaching core content area skills.

Proposed training for teachers in how to appropriately use the arts, including music, visual arts, and dance (movement) to promote positive social behaviors while bridging the gap between curricular demands and fostering a creative and engaging learning environment.

Arts integration strategies will be used to teach, build and practice social-emotional learning competencies. As with any true arts integration, we will teach arts standards at the same time that we teach SEL competencies. Through this program teachers will understand how to design a curriculum pathway to tie specific arts activities to visual and performance arts state standards and SEL competencies.

Focus areas and expected results:

Social Emotional Learning

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), defines SEL as “how children and adults learn to understand and manage emotions, set goals, show empathy for others, establish positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”

CASEL’s framework identifies five core competencies:

  • Self-awareness
  • self-management
  • social awareness
  • relationship skills
  • responsible decision-making.

A strong focus on SEL across the school can help develop students who:

  • Are more attentive in class
  • Are able to control their emotions
  • Work well with their classmates
  • Resolve conflicts amicably
  • Show empathy and understanding
  • Become better problem solvers

Social Emotional Learning will be very important as schools resume. Funding sources from COVID-19 relief will contain specifications for Social Emotional Learning initiatives.

Visit the MDE website for more information on social emotional resources at


Contact The Excellence Group for more information.