Social and Emotional Development in Afterschool
The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), defines socail and emotional learning as “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.”
CASEL’s framework classifies SEL competencies into five areas: self-awareness, social awareness, responsible decision-making, self-management, and relationship skills.
Education leaders broadly agree that student development is strongest when academics and social and emotional development are integrated. There are multiple frameworks that connect the skills and competencies that fit underneath social and emotional learning, but significant overlap can be found across them; it is better to think of them as providing complementary perspectives that competing ones. Many frameworks, including “21st century skills,” “workforce readiness skills,” “non-cognitive factors,” have equivalent or overlapping competencies, and overall there is broad agreement on what social and emotional skills and competencies encompass.
Afterschool and summer learning programs are already doing a lot to help students develop social and emotional skills. Many afterschool and summer learning programs have broad learning objectives for youth that include social, emotional, and character development. Afterschool and summer learning programs are a unique setting where youth can connect to positive adult mentors, feel safe to try new things, and have the opportunity to acquire new skills and develop mastery in an area.
After-school programs promote young people’s social and emotional learning (SEL) skills – whether the programs use that term or not.”
Many programs also have more flexibility than schools to focus on the development of these critical skills, and there is plenty of evidence that they are already doing a lot to develop social and emotional skills in youth. Research shows that developing the kind of productive, healthy relationships with caring adults that are a mainstay of many programs is critical to the social and emotional development of youth. These relationships give youth the confidence to explore the world around them, discover their passions, and continue forming positive relationships with their peers and other adults. Afterschool and summer programs are key partners in young people’s learning. They help young people develop the social and emotional skills to become resilient, engaged, and productive adults. Together with families and schools, afterschool and summer learning programs can work to ensure that all children and youth are given the supports they need to build their social and emotional skills and competencies, paving a clear pathway to a healthy and fulfilling future.
Available evidence suggests that academic learning is inextricably connected to social and emotional development. It’s critical that both in-school and out-of-school educators ensure that youth are developing the social and emotional skills that they need to succeed in school and in life. Evidence shows that youth in high-quality, evidence-based afterschool programs targeting SEL outcomes see a wide range of positive effects in the short term:
And even more positive effects in the long term:
Research even indicates that quality, SEL-focused afterschool programs can have an even larger impact on standardized test scores than programs that have a heavy academic focus! Afterschool and summer programs are key partners in young people’s learning. They help to develop the critical social and emotional skills that help create happier, more engaged, and more productive citizens.
Together with families and schools, afterschool and summer learning programs can work to ensure that all children and youth are given the supports they need to build their social and emotional skills and competencies, paving a clear pathway to a healthy and fulfilling future.
Afterschool and summer programs are key partners in young people’s learning. They help young people develop the social and emotional skills to become resilient, engaged, and productive adults. Check out the factsheet for more information.Download Now
Available evidence suggests that academic learning is inextricably connected to social and emotional development. Download our talking points to learn how to talk about social and emotional development.Download Now
In this video series, we explore how educators can guide all students, regardless of their developmental starting points, to become productive and engaged learners.Check them out