Current Research to Support Social Emotional Learning Programs


  • A systematic review and meta-analysis of 40 articles examined SEL programs using the tier 1 approach found statistically significant improvements in math and reading. This study posed the concern that schools may be using front running programs that lack the evidence of statistically significant impacts on academic outcomes (Corcoran et al., 2018). 
  • A meta-analysis of 213 studies that examined SEL programs using the tier 1 approach found social-emotional skill performance to have a statistically significant effect. Teachers were found to be effective implementers of the SEL programs with an 11% increase in academic achievement (Durlak et al., 2011).
  • A similar meta-analysis found that attitude was not a significant predictor for follow up effect; however, enhanced social-emotional skills were statistically significant. This information indicates that skill development is essential for long-term effects. The results also found that SEL programs have positively impacted academic outcomes (Taylor et al., 2017).



More Research Is Needed



  • Little to no research to support the developmental trajectory of social emotional learning skills for children in kindergarten through twelfth grade (Eklund et al., 2018).   
  • This lack of research has potentially caused these programs to deliver these dynamic concepts inadequately. Content delivery at the wrong developmental stage can result in valuable information to either be presented too early, too late or be completely lost.

How will this new program be different?



  • Many programs focus on at least one of the five core competencies, however, have an underlying expectation that foundational social-emotional skills already exists. Our curriculum will encompass all 5 core competencies and start with the foundational skills
  • Developed by occupational therapists and speech and language pathologists! We have the knowledge and expertise to create a curriculum that evokes a positive classroom culture and build social-emotional learning skills by educating the community, teachers, and the students.
  • This program will include education about the science of autonomy and understanding oneself.
  • The lessons will be taught using dynamic and concrete concepts with sensory-rich components, to deepen the understanding for all children (Bottge et al., 2007).
  • Multi-sensory activities will engage an unprecedented continuum of student needs.
  • The goal for our program is to help children build foundational skills that will promote readiness to learn by improving self awareness, self regulations, empathy for others, and relationships with others.

*Literature review completed by Sarah Loffredo, OTD student.