Social and Emotional Learning in Practice: A Resource Review


  • Allison Riley Girls on the Run International



social and emotional learning, Ways of Being model


Youth programs are an important context for social and emotional learning (SEL). To maximize opportunities for the development of skills such as self-management, empathy, and goal setting, youth workers need resources to increase practices that support SEL. Social and Emotional Learning in Practice: A Toolkit of Practical Strategies and Resources, Second Edition is a compilation of tools, templates, and activities that youth development programs can use to (a) enhance staff knowledge of SEL, how their program supports SEL, and their own emotional intelligence; (b) establish expectations, give feedback, and integrate reflection; (c) integrate SEL into program activities; and (d) collect SEL data for improvement. The 149-page toolkit is grounded in the Ways of Being model and is also informed by youth workers and youth from a variety of organizations. This is a turnkey resource that will be useful to youth development workers with a range of goals from overhauling their approach to SEL to identifying one activity for a single day of programming. The 2nd edition includes new icebreaker activities, an SEL Superpowers Board Game, creative data collection strategies, a reading list, and more.


Blyth, D., Olson, B., & Walker, K. (2017). Ways of being: A model for social & emotional learning (Issue brief). Retrieved from University of Minnesota Libraries Digital Conservance website:

Durlak, J. A., Weissberg, R. P., Dymnicki, A. B., Taylor, R. D., & Schellinger, K. B. (2011). The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions. Child Development, 82(1), 405- 432. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01564.x

Herman, M., & Blyth, D. (2016). The relationship between youth program quality and social & emotional learning. Retrieved from University of Minnesota, Extension Center for Youth Development website:

Jones, S. M., & Bouffard, S. M. (2012). Social and emotional learning in schools: From programs to strategies. Society for Research in Child Development Social Policy Report, 26(4), 1-33. Retrieved from

Jones, S.M., Brush, K., Bailey, R., Brion-Meisels, G., McIntyre, J., Kahn, J., . . . Stickle, L. (2017). Navigating SEL from the inside out: Looking inside & across 25 leading SEL programs: A practical resource for schools and OST providers (Elementary School Focus). New York, NY: The Wallace Foundation.

Smith, C., & Hohmann, C. (2005). Full findings from the Youth PQA validation study. Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Educational Research Foundation.

Walker, K., Olson, B., & Herman, M. (2019). Social and emotional learning in practice: A toolkit of practical strategies and resources (2nd ed.). St. Paul: University of Minnesota Extension.






Resource Reviews