- SEL is critical for students, and it should be a key part of before- and after-school programs
- SEL should be embedded throughout every program, starting with students’ arrival
- See related article: It’s critical to promote mental health supports at the start of the school year
Incorporating social and emotional learning (SEL) throughout the school day has risen in popularity over the last few years, especially to counteract the increasing rates of anxiety and depression in students since the COVID-19 pandemic. Lost in the discussion, however, is the importance of before- and after-school programs–the bookends of the school day.
These before- and after-school programs dedicate a significant amount of time to activities that can help students develop social-emotional skills. In fact, a 2021 survey of program providers found that in addition to academic enrichment, 86 percent of programs give young people the time to interact with their peers and build social skills. Plus, students themselves report that 80 percent of the programs give the students time to talk with peers and adults about how they’re feeling. Yet, staff may not approach every interaction with intention to foster social and emotional growth.…Read More