Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative
What we did
Inter-intrapersonal skills. Soft skills. Character development. Behind the different terms is the notion of social and emotional wellbeing. Research has connected development of skills ranging from teamwork to self-control to success later in life.
This initiative supported schools and out-of-school-time programs to work together to help children develop such skills. Wallace funded school-afterschool partnerships in six large urban areas across the U.S. Their work had many aspects. One was to train school and program staffers in matters like the importance of consistency from caring adults. Another was to provide children with formal instruction in social-emotional skills. Yet another was to build positive climates to bolster social-emotional well-being. What did that look like? A range of rituals and routines. Warm morning greetings from adults. Student sharing circles. Calming breathing exercises, and more.
What we learned
In-school and out-of-school-time SEL programs were provided to thousands of K-6th grade children in 76 schools.
To capture findings, the initiative included a multi-year research study by the RAND Corporation. The study involved several methods. They include observation of teaching and other activities; interviews with principals, afterschool program directors, and others; and surveys of staffers. The researchers have also assembled case studies to describe unique, high-quality approaches to SEL in each community.