Social and emotional learning in theearly years leads to fewer social issuesand increased community involvement.

Our smallest citizens
can change our society.


Social and emotional learning in the early years provides the basic tools required to succeed as individuals and as contributing, engaged citizens. By giving our children the social and emotional tools they need to work together, we are creating the world we want and a more equitable society for us all.


From birth, the skills we develop can have a profound impact – not just on our own lives, but on the places where we live, work, and find community. In this context, SEL skills inspire empathy and a greater interest in the world around us, as well as the role we can play in changing our society for the better.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead

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Building A Better Society

Research links social and emotional skills to a number of positive outcomes for society, from fewer mental health issues to stronger interpersonal relationships, educational achievement, community engagement, productive employment, and physical health in later life. It promises the same benefits to all children, regardless of race or economic background. Now, it’s up to all of us to put these theories into practice, and equip our smallest of citizens with the tools they need to build something better.

The Heart-Mind Connection

The notion of educating the heart is as old as Aristotle, and has been a major focus of the Dalai Lama Centre for Peace and Education, the Social and Emotional Learning Lab and the Human Early Learning Partnership at UBC. The idea is simple: by creating a balance between educating the mind and educating the heart, we can foster positive human qualities such as compassion, empathy and confidence, and help young children manage difficult emotions such as fear, hatred, anger, and anxiety. In doing so, we can encourage children to develop better attitudes about themselves, to empathize with others, and to make constructive choices in increasingly complex situations.

SEL & Crime Prevention

In the absence of adequate social and emotional development in the early years, research has revealed a startling connection to a number of issues in society including substance abuse, obesity, and crime. One of the longest studies in particular found that a lack of self-management skills in childhood predicted a number of factors in adolescence and adulthood, including criminal offences, child aggression, violence and wrongdoing. In each case, the likelihood of these offences has been linked to a lack of early SEL; causing many educators, social scientists, and policymakers to take notice.

Health Benefits

Can social and emotional learning in the early years lead to better physical and mental health later in life? To date, there have been dozens of studies around the world linking SEL to healthier lifestyles and improved health outcomes, including fewer cases of depression, anxiety, substance use, illness and even a lower body mass index (BMI). One long-term study in particular followed a group of 1000 children from birth to 32 years, and concluded that SEL developed in childhood predicted better health in adulthood.

Success in Schools