Home Social Emotional Learning

Social Emotional Learning

Social emotional learning is the process through which people build awareness and skills in managing emotions, setting goals, establishing relationships, and making responsible decisions. When we develop these skills, we improve our ability to form relationships and connect with individuals of diverse perspectives, cultures, languages, identities, and abilities, helping to create more equitable and better performing schools and communities. (source)

Expanded learning opportunities offered outside the traditional school day have the flexibility to engage young people in hands-on, experiential learning that build these critical social emotional skills.

In Washington, School's Out Washington led the process of developing a set of Quality Standards for the expanded learning field rooted in social emotional learning practices. These Standards provide a benchmark to guide youth development professionals in delivering quality programming with specific standards on Cultural Competency & Relevancy, Relationships, and Youth Leadership & Engagement all of which get to the heart of social emotional skill building. 

You can learn more about Social Emotional Learning and SOWA's role in supporting it in Washington in our SEL Policy Brief (PDF).

How Washington State is Addressing SEL

In 2015, the Washington State Legislature directed OSPI to “convene a workgroup to recommend comprehensive benchmarks for developmentally appropriate interpersonal and decision-making knowledge and skills of social and emotional learning for grades kindergarten through high school that build upon what is being done in early learning.”

Based on this directive, the Social Emotional Learning Indicators Workgroup developed a framework with guiding principles, standards and benchmarks that provide the foundation and system for effective SEL programming.

Washington's Six SEL Standards

SELF-AWARENESS An individual has the ability to identify and name one’s emotions and their influence on behavior.
SELF-MANAGEMENT An individual develops and demonstrates the ability to regulate emotions, thoughts and behaviors in context with people different than oneself.
SELF-EFFICACY An Individual has the ability to motivate oneself, persevere, and see oneself as capable.
SOCIAL AWARENESS An individual has the ability to take the perspective of and  empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
SOCIAL MANAGEMENT An individual has the ability to make safe and constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions.
SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT An individual has the ability to consider others and a desire to contribute to the well-being of school and community.



For questions on our SEL advocacy efforts, please contact David Beard at dbeard@schoolsoutwashington.org.

For questions on the practice of Social Emotional Learning in program settings, or to contract a SOWA coach or trainer to work with your staff, contact Porter Eichenlaub at peichenlaub@schoolsoutwashington.org.