by Mona Grife and Anne Arias
You may have noticed that there has been a tsunami of SEL resources in the last couple of years. Don’t get me wrong, this is great, and I love digging into all the articles, toolkits, curricula, and reports. But it can be overwhelming to find exactly what you need at the time that you need it.
When Anne and I work on curating the resources for the SEL newsletter, we pull from various places: local and national newsletters, sessions at conferences, various emails, and announcements at meetings. Some of the national sites I like to follow include: The Greater Good Science Center, Teaching Tolerance, Edutopia News, and the Making Caring Common Project. Locally, it’s been helpful to follow the Best Starts for Kids Blog, the Road Map Project Newsletter, and listen to KUOW’s Radio Active Youth Media. Although those local sites are not specific to SEL, they help keep us connected to what’s happening in our county and the Road Map region, and to learn from local youth perspectives.
At our November Whole Child, Whole Day Advisory committee meeting, we asked each member to share one of their favorite SEL-related resources. We heard such a variety of great ideas, we thought we would share this list with you.
- The Power of Moments – This book, by Chip and Dan Heath, encourages its readers to explore why certain experiences have an extraordinary impact, and what we can do to create more of those meaningful, memorable moments in our own lives.
- Communities Rise – How do we build strong organizations so we can continue to provide services to youth? Nonprofit Assistance Center (NAC) and Wayfind have joined forces in recognition that the need to build power in communities impacted by systemic oppression is greater than ever. They are creating a streamlined system for the nonprofits, funders, and microenterprises with whom they partner and provide services (legal and organizational development).
- SEL Practices Toolkit – One Advisory Committee member has been using the Readiness Inventory, which helps you assess how well your program’s current practices support SEL, and the Emotional Intelligence Self-Assessment, which helps youth development professionals ground themselves in their own emotions and the language we use in supporting SEL in youth. We introduced our SEL Partnership Cohort to the Ways of Being model because we appreciate how it frames identity awareness and development as a core component of SEL skill development. The toolkit has many activities one can implement right away with youth and/or adults.
- SEL in Racial Equity Brief – This brief, from Education Northwest, reminds us that there is a growing sense of urgency regarding the need to examine social and emotional learning (SEL) in relation to issues of equity in K–12 education. The opportunities for change in how we do work relate to SEL include: how student SEL is defined, how adults promote SEL in schools, and how policies and resources are aligned to support school transformation in support of equity.
- Social, Emotional, and Ethical Learning – Our Advisory Committee member who recommended this resource mentioned that the online training for this K-12 education program is surprisingly fun and interactive. Developed by Emory University, it has been designed to enhance SEL programming with additional key components, including attention to training, compassion and ethical discernment, systems thinking, and resilience and trauma-informed practice.
- CASEL District Resource Center – The CASEL website houses a ton of SEL tools. The tool for Adult SEL Assessment is a helpful way for adults to reflect on their SEL skills.
- Mindfulness Moments in Staff Meetings – One person shared how incorporating mindfulness in staff meetings has been going really well. Here’s an introductory article about this concept.
- Big Life Journal – The Advisory Committee member has found these resources useful for conversations around SEL with families and youth. With a focus on growth mindset and a foundation of SEL, Big Life Journal has activity kits and journals available for purchase.
- Experiential Learning Activities – Challenge activities where youth or adult learn through unique experiences that require them to problem-solve and work together can lead to new insights into self and social awareness. Camp Long, located in West Seattle, is one local place where you can access experiential activities at the Challenge Course or rock climbing at Schurman Rock. Need some ideas for indoor activities? Check out UNICEF’s Kids Power site or this page for ideas for teambuilding activities for teenagers.
- Holistic Life Foundation – This recommendation comes from an Advisory Committee member who brought this organization out to King County for a collaboration with Yoga Behind Bars. The Holistic Life Foundation is a Baltimore-based 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization committed to nurturing the wellness of children and adults in underserved communities. Through a comprehensive approach which helps children develop their inner lives through yoga, mindfulness, and self-care, HLF demonstrates deep commitment to learning, community, and stewardship of the environment.
- “SEL is my super power” – One of our Advisory Committee members shared how a colleague who attended our annual SEL Symposium was able to connect the dots and realize that some of their core strengths were in social and emotional skills. Many of us who work in youth development have been encouraged to model and embed social and emotional skill development from the very beginning of our careers, but we haven’t used “SEL” terminology to identify exactly what we have been doing. This is one of the activities we’re doing in our SEL Partnership Cohort, for example – encouraging community partners to name and illustrate how their practices create rich learning environments for the strengthening and practice of social and emotional skills.
- Last but not least, there has been a lot of excitement with the release of implementation tools and indicators for WA State’s SEL Standards. Check them out at OSPI’s SEL page.
Do you have a SEL-related resource that has helped you on your journey to create learning spaces that support the whole child? We’ve love to know. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.