Social Emotional Learning

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Access the ACT Now SEL Guidebook

ACT Now wrote this guide to help providers learn more about Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and to assist in the planning and implementation of SEL in afterschool. In this guide, you will find resources and information to assist with learning about SEL, planning for implementation, selecting SEL curriculum and activities, training staff in SEL, assessing your program’s implementation of SEL, and assessing youth SEL outcomes.

SEL Professional Development: 2021-2022 Webinar Series

SEL Webinar #1: Creating Space for Staff: Strengthening Social and Emotional Supports for OST Staff

Returning to full in-person instruction is a relief for many, but will also bring with it a variety of new challenges and concerns. To support the social and emotional wellbeing of students in afterschool, program staff need to feel similarly supported. How can OST program providers and administrators create space for staff to engage with their own social and emotional competencies? Along with our partners, Veronica Ortiz (Director of Clinical Services – Brighton Park Neighborhood Council), Meg Helder (Senior Director of Trauma-Informed Practices – YMCA Metropolitan Chicago), and Jennifer Donahue (Researcher – American Institutes for Research), ACT Now shared strategies which programs may utilize to support colleagues and youth in Illinois.

SEL Webinar #2: Creating an Intentional SEL Framework in Afterschool Environments

Providing consistent and dedicated opportunities for students to practice their social and emotional competencies is an important part of SEL instruction in afterschool and out-of-school time environments. What does the research tell us about how to effectively implement these opportunities for high-quality learning? How can programs intentionally create these opportunities in their daily routines?  ACT Now hosted our partners Sara Wolforth (Principle Researcher – American Institutes for Research) and Joe Byrd (Head Coach – Chicago Training Center) and facilitated a lively discussion!

SEL Webinar #3: Integrating SEL with Classroom Learning

  • May 23, 2022, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

SEL Professional Development: 2020-2021 Webinar Series

Join ACT Now for our upcoming Social Emotional Learning (SEL) webinar series! In this webinar series, ACT Now will breakdown the CASEL SEL competencies and facilitate discussions on a variety of SEL themes. Attendees will learn how to incorporate SEL in their OST program!

  • Our webinar on Relationship Skills took place on December 3, 2020 — 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. To watch the webinar, click here.
  • Our webinar on Responsible Decision Making was on February 4, 2021 — 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. To watch the webinar, click here.
  • Our webinar on Self-Management took place on March 4, 2021 — 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. To watch the webinar, click here.

SEL Professional Development: 2019-2020 Webinar Series

Review ACT Now’s Social Emotional Learning (SEL) webinar series from 2019-2020. In this webinar series, ACT Now shared about the CASEL SEL competencies and host speakers spoke to concrete examples of how to implement SEL in afterschool programming.

  • Self-Awareness (November 6, 2019 — 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.) To watch the webinar, click here.
  • Social Awareness (January 22, 2020 — 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.) To access the recording, click here.
  • Self-Management (March 10, 2020 — 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.) To access the webinar, click here.

Indoor & Outdoor Environments

Tools for Adapting SEL Programs

This article offers an in-depth guide that provides a look inside and across 25 evidence-based programs along with tools for OST programs.

Family & Community Partnerships

Voices of Child Health in Chicago Report

The latest report from Voices of Child Health in Chicago provides insight into gun violence exposure as well as connections to mental health among Chicago’s youth.

Supporting Grieving Students: Advice From Parents and Counselors

EducationWeek has published an article and video series on how to support grieving students. The resources share advice and strategies from families and families as communities continue to process the loss of loved ones during the pandemic.

Strengthening Chicago’s Youth Podcast: The Parenting Supports

The Parenting Supports Podcast, sponsored by Strengthening Chicago’s Youth (SCY), is about all things parenting. SCY aims to empower their audience by providing information on topics relevant to the lives of parents, caretakers, family members, and community providers. Topics surround self-care, trauma, and managing stress and anxiety while adjusting to a pandemic. The podcast is also available on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Google Podcasts.

Wallace Foundation: The Partnerships for Social Emotional Learning Initiative Podcast

The Wallace Foundation has started a new podcast series on the Partnerships for Social Emotional Learning, which highlights educators, afterschool providers, and community-based organizations that are supporting young people’s social-emotional needs. Listeners will learn about the importance of partnerships for high-quality SEL programming and more. To listen to the podcast, click here.

Guiding SEL Questions for Quality Partnerships

These guiding questions can help school staff and out-of-school time providers to think intentionally about how to fully partner with one another to promote school-wide social and emotional learning (SEL).


Embracing Inclusive Programming 

eSchool News outlined three ways that educators and program providers can embrace and implement inclusive programing. Inclusive programs and curriculum design  make space for all the unique identities and experiences that youth bring into the classroom.

Fostering Inclusive Environments

Edutopia compiled helpful resources to assist educators in fostering an inclusive environment for students of diverse backgrounds. The resources include lesson plans, reports, and more!

 Social and Emotional Learning for Student Trauma  

Education Week’s Spotlight on Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) for Student Trauma is a collection of articles discussing how teachers can support traumatized students, insights into the benefits of prioritizing student well-being, research for supporting principals with SEL and school climate initiatives, how to defuse misconceptions about SEL, and more. 

Helping Students Manage Emotions

On October 17, 2022Edutopia published a blog post that discussed how to help students manage emotions. Some of the tips included directing students to credible resources and actively listening to students as they share their experiences.  

Social and Emotional Learning and the Arts 

On September 28, 2022, Edutopia published an article on how providers and educators can encourage social and emotional learning through the arts. The article covers different techniques and strategies for incorporating the arts into programs and classrooms.

Social and Emotional (SEL) Learning Curriculum: RULER  

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) released a story on District 25 and the school district’s newly implemented SEL curriculum called RULER. RULER is an acronym for five skills of emotional intelligence: Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing, and Regulating. RULER has been well received my members of the school community, especially as students and families begin to heal from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Power of Us Survey 

The American Institutes for Research (AIR) want to know more about those who are working in the youth development field so that they can examine this collective workforce and the type of programming being facilitated for young people. Youth-serving staff and volunteers are invited to take the Power of Us Workforce Survey. The data from the survey can help to inform policy, practice, and further research to better support the workforce. This initiative also invites individuals to be part of the Power of Us campaign, where interested participants can share their stories and help others to see why they should complete the survey as well. 

Social and Emotional Learning Tools for Equity

The National Urban League recently published a toolkit for informal educators to use to ensure equity in the social and emotional learning support services they offer to youth and community members.

3 Reasons why SEL Programming is Important

eSchool News has written an article highlighting some of the reasons why educators and afterschool program providers should integrate social-emotional learning (SEL) strategies into programming.

After School Matters and American Institutes for Research Brief: Summer Learning from Screen to Screen

Our friends at After School Matters and the American Institutes for Research (AIR) have published a brief that highlights data the two organizations compiled over Summer 2020 on afterschool and summer programming. This report helps to better contextualize and understand the lived-experiences of Chicago teens and instructors during the COVID-19 pandemic, and gain actionable learnings on the impact of remote out-of-school-time programs. To review the complete brief, click here.

Illinois State Board of Education: Emotional Intelligence and Social Emotional Learning Task Force Report

The Illinois State Board of Education’s Emotional Intelligence and Social Emotional Learning (EISEL) Task Force has developed a final report for school and program administrators that hosts age-appropriate emotional intelligence and social and emotional learning curriculum, assessment guidelines, and best practices for elementary schools and high schools. To read the report and its recommendations, click here

Education Week: Building a Trauma-Informed Learning Environment White Paper

Education Week has released a new white paper on building a trauma-informed learning environment for afterschool providers and educators. The document offers strategies for recognizing trauma in young people and focuses on the importance of responding to the needs of students as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. To read the white paper, click here

Wallace Foundation Video: Partnerships for Social Emotional Learning

The Wallace Foundation has released a video on building partnerships for social-emotional learning (SEL). The video highlights six communities across the country and explores whether and how children benefit when schools and out-of-school-time programs intentionally work together to build students’ SEL skills. To learn more about this initiative and to watch the video, click here.

Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development: Social-Emotional Toolkits for Early Childhood Providers & Leaders

The Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development (GOECD), in partnership with the Illinois Pyramid Model State Leadership Team, developed two Social-Emotional Toolkits for early childhood providers and leaders in the field. These resources will help providers to manage stressors and promote wellness during these challenging times. To access these resources, click the links below:Social-Emotional Toolkit: Resources for Early Childhood Education and Care PROVIDERSSocial-Emotional Toolkit: Resources for Birth to Five LEADERS

eSchool News Articles: Strategies for Creating a Culturally Responsive and Engaging Virtual Classroom

eSchool News has published an article with six strategies that afterschool providers can utilize to create a more culturally responsive virtual classroom for their young people. The article emphasizes the importance of creating opportunities for students to share about their diverse backgrounds and embracing an asset-based mindset. To read the full article, click here. eSchool News has also released an article with seven free tools to foster more-engaging online learning for afterschool providers to use with young people. These tools are compatible with many of the digital platforms used for virtual instruction such as Zoom, Google Classroom, and more. To read the article and access the tools, click here.

The Wallace Foundation Report: Early Lessons from Schools and Out-of-School Time Programs Implementing Social and Emotional Learning 

This report presents findings from the first two years of the Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative, a multiyear effort supported by the Wallace Foundation, and explores whether and how children can benefit from partnerships between schools and Out-of-School Time (OST) programs focused on fostering social and emotional skills. To review the findings, click here

Learning in Afterschool & Summer Blog: Addressing the Needs of Girls in Afterschool

This blog focuses on addressing the needs of girls in the afterschool field. The blog features an interview with Allison Dymnicki, a researcher at American Institutes for Research (AIR), who recently published a study about promoting the healthy development of girls at Girls Inc. To read the post, click here.

CASEL Social-Emotional Learning Roadmap for Reopening

CASEL, along with 40 organizations, produced a roadmap to support the return to school with equity-focused Social-Emotional Learning strategies centered on relationships and based upon the existing assets of a school community. To read the extensive guide, click here.

3 Ways to Implements SEL with Your Staff

Afterschool programs have the potential to transform the way adults approach SEL and incorporate it into activities, lessons and programming. WINGS for Kids offers three ways to help start implementing SEL with your staff today. 

How to Approach SEL Development Equitably

Robert Jagers and his colleagues at CASEL are working with others to ensure that “social and emotional learning [can] realize its potential to promote the optimal development of all students, including diverse groups of students.” In this article, Jagers describes how CASEL and partners are reexamining the core social and emotional learning competencies to consider how each could more explicitly elevate equity.

Applying an Equity Lens to SEAD

This brief identifies five barriers that hinder healthy social, emotional, and academic development (SEAD) and identifies opportunities that could better support equitable access to SEAD.

Supporting SEL with Evidence-Based Programs

Provides administrators strategies and examples for successfully funding, implementing, and sustaining SEL program

Embedding SEL into Everyday Interactions

Tips on how districts and school leaders can create a system that infuses SEL into all student-teacher and student-staff interactions.

Connecting SEL During and Beyond the School Day

Two-page infographic outlines the connection between high-quality expanded learning programs and improved SEL outcomes.

SEL Research Report

Leading experts examine the possible impact of SEL on public health, the need for SEL both inside and outside the classroom, and policies to improve teacher preparation and assessment.

Equity and SEL

CASEL shares some of the ways in which they are advancing work on equity and social and emotional learning (SEL). The recorded webinar can be viewed here

How Learning Happens: Supporting Students’ Social, Emotional, and Academic Development

The Aspen Institute National Commission’s interim report explores how schools can be more responsive to students’ social, emotional, and developmental needs.

Kernels of Practice for SEL: Low-Cost, Low-Burden Strategies

 Offers afterschool and summer learning programs a valuable approach to lower the barriers they may face when looking to incorporate social and emotional learning (SEL) into their programs.

Guiding SEL Questions for Quality Partnerships

These guiding questions can help school staff and out-of-school time providers to to think intentionally about how to fully partner with one another to promote school-wide social and emotional learning (SEL).

Supporting Students’ Social, Emotional, and Academic Development

The Aspen Institute’s latest report outlines promising practices that show how students, teachers, parents, and administrators can integrate social, emotional, and academic learning in preK-12 education.

WINGS for Kids SEL Website

Provides organizations and schools with resources for equipping at-risk kids with social emotional skills.

Professional Development & Qualifications

The National AfterSchool Association: The Afterschool Guide to Trauma-Sensitive Practices

The National AfterSchool Association has published the Afterschool Guide to Trauma-Sensitive Practices for program providers looking to learn about responsive approaches to behaviors youth may exhibit as a result of trauma. The eBook also hosts resources for reducing secondary traumatic stress and for maintaining emotional wellbeing in young people and staff members. To access the guide, click here.

Encourage Girls to Use Their Voices

Being intentional about giving girls a voice isn’t something to leave to chance. As a parent, caregiver, mentor or coach, Dr. Allison Riley with Girls on the Run International offers ways you can encourage the girls in your life to use their voices.

Apps and Tools for Classroom SEL

List of apps and resources to aid teachers in incorporating SEL into their classrooms.

SEL Blog Series

Are you interested in getting more intentional about strengthening your program’s social-emotions learning (SEL) practices? Search Institute released a series of blog posts in which they discuss the steps and guiding principles of getting intentional about SEL. Topics include: Who Does the Work?Continuous Quality Improvement, and Measuring and Setting Priorities.

Putting the SEL into PBL

Project-based learning (PBL) presents students with real-world problems to solve through independent research and group inquiry. When combined with social emotional learning (SEL), PBL supports students’ voice/choice, makes instruction more meaningful, and provides them an opportunity to develop and put SEL skills into practice.

Resources for Afterschool Educators To Support Learning and Well-Being

Education Week has a full library of over 220 reports to use for professional development. Check out some of the recent reports, below:

Youth Development, Programming, & Activities

Teachers Are Struggling to Find Time to Implement SEL

eSchool News published an article about how many teachers do not have the capacity to implement social and emotional learning (SEL) curricula into their classrooms. The main challenges cited include lack of time to facilitate SEL activities and little support from school administrators. The article notes how the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on students’ mental health, making SEL more important than ever. 

Social–Emotional Learning Games

Playworks released a guide of games and activities that focus on the social-emotional learning (SEL) competencies in youth. The guide includes more than 150 activities that can be standalone sessions or combined to build upon one another. There are also tips for facilitation and other resources!

Educating Future-Ready Students Webinar

This webinar hosted by CASEL is thorough leadership discussion on social and emotional learning and workforce development for educators, policymakers, higher education leaders, and district leaders. 

Student Well-being Webinar Recording

Recently, eSchool News hosted a webinar focusing on student well-being and strategies for supporting the social-emotional learning of youth. The recording is now available to providers for free.

Supporting Older Students’ Learning

eSchool News has an article that hosts information on strategies for supporting older youths’ learning with respect to reading and writing competencies.

Resources for Creating Supportive Learning Environments

eSchool News has written three different articles highlighting resources for developing responsive and supportive learning environments for students. The resources include strategies for facilitating programs in a hybrid environmentoptimizing social-emotional learning (SEL) curricula, and developing activities to increase student participation and engagement.

Community is Integral to Supporting Students’ SEL Needs

EducationWeek has developed a short article on the importance of engaging community members in order to support young people’s social-emotional learning (SEL) needs. The article also showcases The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning’s (CASEL) SEL framework and provides context for how to begin implementing SEL into programming.

Equitable Social-Emotional Learning Practices

eSchool News has published an article highlighting five principles for ensuring equity in a program’s social-emotional learning (SEL) initiatives.

Ensuring Youth Voice and Choice in Programming

eSchool News compiled four strategies for incorporating youth voice and choice in programming, whether related to social-emotional learning (SEL) or STEM.

10 SEL Activities for High School Students

eSchool News has compiled a variety of activities that focus on the social-emotional learning needs of high school students. The activities also incorporate STEM competencies, the arts, and more, and are easy to integrate into afterschool programming.

SEL Activities to Support Stress Management Skills in Youth

eSchool News has compiled 10 resources for afterschool providers to incorporate into programming in order to support young people’s stress management. There are activities and best practices that can be used in a variety of learning environments.

Supporting Students Where They Are by Facilitating SEL Curricula 

The National AfterSchool Alliance has compiled a few FREE resources for providers to facilitate. These resources focus on the social-emotional needs of youth but also cover topics such as STEM and financial literacy.

Trauma-Informed Care Resources for Providers  

The Crisis Prevention Institute has released a free Trauma-Informed Care for Educators guide to create a deeper awareness of trauma-related concepts in the education and afterschool fields. The resources will also support program providers communicate more effectively and strengthen their relationships with their learners.

Navigating Social and Emotional Learning from the Inside OutThe Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Wallace Foundation have developed an updated and expanded guide to evidence-based SEL programs for programs to review. This resource offers detailed information on 33 pre-K through elementary school programs, encompassing curricular content and program highlights, and strategies for electing the best SEL programming for the youth and communities your afterschool program serves.

eSchool News Article: 3 Familiar Tools that Enable Trauma-Informed Teaching

eSchool News has a brief article elevating three tools that afterschool providers may utilize in hybrid programming to engage youth in a trauma-informed manner. These strategies build upon applications and platforms that young people may be familiar with already!

eSchool News Article: Tips for Teaching SEL in a Hybrid Environment

eSchool News has developed eight tips for providers and educators interested in facilitating SEL competencies in a hybrid environment. The article also highlights certain curriculum for doing so. To read the tips, click here.

CASEL: Refocus on the SEL Roadmap Brief

CASEL has written a brief for school district administrators, educators, and afterschool providers interested in learning how to best support the Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) needs of young people during the second half of the school year. Many students will be transitioning from distance learning back to in-person learning, or vice versa, and SEL remains as important as ever. This resource contains three strategies to help prepare for a successful second semester based on insights into how school districts nationwide have prioritized SEL this year. To read the brief, click here.

National Center for Learning Disabilities: New Report on How to Support Marginalized Students in a Pandemic

The Center for Learning Disabilities argues that the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately impacting students from systemically marginalized communities, including students with disabilities, students of color, and students from low-income families. In response to this reality, it has published a new report citing the importance of supporting the social-emotional learning of these groups of young people. To read the full report, click here.

eSchool News Article: 10 SEL Activities for Youth

eSchool News has released an article with a variety of social-emotional learning (SEL) activities for students. These activities can be easily incorporated into everyday programming and utilized in virtual, in-person, and hybrid environments. To read about the 10 activities, click here.

ShareMyLesson: Digital Winter Holiday Lesson Plans and Activities for Students

ShareMyLesson has compiled a list of pre-K-12 winter holiday lesson plans, worksheets, and other resources for students to use in order to learn about diversity and celebrate community. These materials can be used for virtual, in-person, and hybrid programming, and are based on social-emotional learning competencies. Materials are printable as well. To review the lesson plans and activities, click here.

Mizzen Application: 23 Days of Fun, Healthy, and Creative Activities for December

The Mizzen application hosts a variety of engaging activities for afterschool providers to utilize in their programming. Most recently, Mizzen, along with partner organizations such as the Afterschool All-Stars and OregonASK, has developed a list of 23 healthy and creative sessions for young people to participate in during the month of December. These activities are geared towards virtual, in-person, and hybrid facilitation, and are based upon social-emotional learning competencies, the arts, and exercise. To review the sessions and to download the application, click here.

eSchools News Article: Integrating SEL into Hybrid Programming

eSchools News has published an article with tips and activities for integrating SEL into hybrid programming as school districts and afterschool programs across the country begin to make the transition to this style of instruction. To read the full article, click here.

After School Matters and the Readiness Projects: Spring 2020 Survey Brief

After School Matters (ASM) has partnered with The Readiness Projects to publish preliminary findings from the organization’s Spring survey, which was applied to young people across the city of Chicago. The research brief highlights the value of prioritizing social and emotional learning (SEL) for youth throughout the pandemic. To read the brief, click here. To read the Readiness Projects’ blog post on the data, click here.

The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law: Trauma in Schools – A Toolkit for Educators and School Administrators Implementing Trauma Supports in Schools

The Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has developed
a toolkit for educators, school administrators, and afterschool providers to help them understand certain indicators of trauma in youth, and how to implement trauma-informed practices in programming. To review the toolkit, click here.

Illinois State Board of Education and The Illinois Inclusive Curriculum Advisory Council (IICAC): LGBTQ Inclusive Curricula

In August 2019, Governor Pritzker signed Public Act 101-0227, which
is widely known as the LGBTQ Inclusive Curriculum Bill. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Inclusive Curriculum Advisory Council (IICAC) have highlighted the The Legacy Project’s Lesson Plans as a great tool to support educators and afterschool providers with the implementation of the Inclusive Curriculum Law.

American Youth Policy Forum: Social-Emotional Learning Resources for Providers

Throughout the last few months, the American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) has collected a variety of resources related to COVID-19 in order to support youth, families, communities, afterschool providers, and educators. During Week 9, AYPF focused on highlighting free Social Emotional Learning (SEL) resources that are categorized in the following topics: resources from organizations, state and county actions/resources, policy guidance, and media coverage. To access the full list of AYPF’s SEL and COVID-19 materials, click here.

The Partnership for Resilience: White Paper on Trauma-Sensitive Schools and Whole-Child Literacy

In collaboration with the Literacy Organizational Capacity Initiative,
the Partnership for Resilience released a white paper titled “A Learner’s Guide to Trauma-Sensitive Schools and Whole-Child Literacy.” The document emphasizes the importance of a systems approach to whole-child learning and provides recommendations for integrating social-emotional learning (SEL) practices into programming in order to create trauma-sensitive schools. To read the paper, click here.

The Student Training & Education in Public Service: Support Systems for Students Affected by Trauma

The Student Training & Education in Public Service organization has developed an in-depth guide for providers and families to use in order to support youth that have experienced, or may currently be experiencing, trauma. This guide is FREE and hosts a variety of information regarding trauma, how to recognize its manifestations in students, and resources for those seeking professional help. Click here to review the guide.

Science of Learning and Development (SoLD) Alliance: Afterschool Systems and Setting

The Science of Learning and Development (SoLD) Alliance strengthens systems that bolster whole-child efforts through research, policy, and practice. The American Institutes for Research wrote a briefing paper on SoLD in afterschool and other environments where young people learn, live, and play. The paper explores key findings from the SoLD Alliance’s efforts such as: cultural competence, trauma and adversity, suggestions for supporting high-quality afterschool systems and settings, etc. To read the entire brief, click here.

The Role of Afterschool in SEL

Points out the many ways afterschool and summer learning programs are supporting students in their development and makes the case for the need for additional resources.

Wings for Kids New SEL Resources

Wings for Kids launched Soar with Wings, a new program with Discovery Education and sponsored by the Allstate Foundation. Soar with Wings provides digital lessons and resources for FREE to elementary school students, classrooms, and organizations nationwide. For more information, click here. Wings for Kids also has a free downloadable poster on the emotional alphabet, to help build awareness. 

DIY SEL Toolkit

This social emotional learning (SEL) toolkit was designed especially for educators, youth development leaders, and others who want to incorporate social emotional learning into kids’ daily lives.

Body Confidence Training/Workshop

Creating a body confident environment in schools has never been more challenging. Adolescents’ body image concerns affect their mental health and self-care objectives. They factor into their school performance as well as their ability to achieve potential in other areas of their lives. Because of this, Denise Hamburger is working with the Illinois State Board of Education to help introduce positive body image curriculum to schools in Illinois. Click here to learn more about scheduling a Body Confidence training/workshop for your OST program.

SEL Booklist

Check out this resource list of social & emotional book suggestions from children’s book publishers.

12 Prompts for Summer SEL

These straight-forward prompts make it easy to weave social emotional learning into summer reading, board games, and outdoor activities.

Talking to Children About Terrorism

Having conversations with children about the commemoration of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks can be difficult. Terrorist attacks in the United States and around the world evoke strong emotions and questions in all of us. This tip sheet has been prepared to provide broad guidelines to help you in these conversations with children.

Teen Dating Violence Toolkit

The Department of Health and Human Services has released a toolkit for how you can raise awareness of teen dating violence in your community. 

Talking to Students about Sexual Assault

Given the national conversation, youth around the nation have heard a lot in the media about sexual assault lately. Conversations about sexual assault should be a part of the safety conversations you’re already having, like knowing when to speak up, how to take care of friends, and listening to your gut. The key is to start these conversations when kids are young, and have these conversations often. Teach young children the language they need to talk about their bodies and information about boundaries to help them understand what is allowed and what is inappropriate. These lessons help them know when something isn’t right and give them the power to speak up.

Helping Youth Handle Conflict

Youth need to know their voices matter and that they deserve to be respected. Help them learn the skills to handle conflict and stand up to bullying with these tips.

Yoga for Self-Regulation, Attention, & Learning

Use these yoga practices to facilitate discussions with youth about sensations in their body that they may experience when they feel angry, frustrated, sad, worried or fearful and how important it is to notice when their body is feeling this way so they can calm their nervous system. 


Allegations of sexual assault against Justice Brett Kavanaugh have led to unavoidable conversations throughout the nation’s schools. In this PBS Newshour video, Education Week reporter Evie Blad discusses how some schools are dealing with very difficult conversations surrounding consent, assault, allegations, and consequences. To view the video, click here

Webinar: Youth Relationships

Search Institute is examining the state of young people’s relationships and how those relationships affect who they are, the choices they make, and who they are becoming. In this previously recorded webinar, Search Institute examines how developmental relationships affect student motivation and key educational outcomes, including GPA. Register here to access the webinar recording.

Empathy Guide

Empathy is a critical social-emotional skill that motivates us to be more compassionate towards others. This guide provides insight on how to help youth in out-of-school time settings increase empathy.

Trauma-Informed & Culturally Responsive
Service Learning

Most established forms of youth services model the norms and values of the dominant Western culture. To best engage with a complete spectrum of youth, we must be trauma-informed, culturally responsive, and mindful of serving the whole community. This article demonstrates how these salient frameworks informed a partnership between service-learning university students and Puerto Rican youth who were displaced by Hurricane Maria in 2017.

Emotion Regulation Guide

Emotion regulation skills help adolescents improve relationships, achieve long-term physical and mental well-being, and perform better in school. Learn more about how to help youth regulate their emotions and behavior in a positive way by using this helpful guide.

Safety, Health, and Nutrition

Predictions for Chicago Public Schools School Year 

Yesterday, August 22, 2022, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) welcomed students back for school year 2022-2023. Chalkbeat Chicago highlighted some of the goals for this school year, with emphasis on focusing on the social-emotional wellbeing of students due to the mental health crisis and pandemic. While CPS administrators appear optimistic after allocating funding to increase support services and partnerships, and providing universal child care, the school district continues to struggle with staffing, transportation, and low enrollment.

Demystifying Systemic Social and Emotional Learning, monthly webinar

This ten-part webinar series by CASEL addresses key aspects of high-quality systemic social-emotional learning. It provides insights on prioritizing academic, social, and emotional learning for all students across all school contexts. You can view them live or receive recordings of the entire series. 

SEL, Trauma-Informed Programming, and Mental Health Resources for Providers 

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) offers free social-emotional learning (SEL) and trauma-informed resources to educators and program providers. ISBE also hosts an online virtual learning community on trauma-informed practices and has worked to develop the Safe2Help hotline, which students can call or text to share safety concerns in a confidential environment at any time. eSchool News also published an article with support services tailored towards supporting students’ mental health and ways in which schools and programs can integrate these supports into programming.May is also Mental Health Month, and Mental Health America has created an outreach toolkit in English and Spanish. This toolkit provides free, practical resources to introduce mental health topics such as recognizing warning signs, knowing the factors that can lead to mental health conditions, maintaining mental wellness, and seeking support for mental health. There are media materials, fact sheets, social media web banners, and posters.ShareMyLesson has curated a list of mental health resources for program providers to leverage every day with specific focus on elevating Mental Health Month.The Illinois Children’s Mental Health Partnership (ICMHP) is “charged with developing and monitoring a plan to build comprehensive and coordinated mental health services, programs, and supports for Illinois children and their families.” ICMHP developed its initial plan in 2005, with a brief update to the strategic priorities in 2012. This week, during Children’s Mental Health Week (May 2-6, 2022), ICMHP and the State of Illinois are embarking on the process to develop a new Children’s Mental Health Plan to improve the overall wellbeing of all Illinois youth and families.

How to Support Students with Technology Fatigue

EducationWeek has released an article sharing strategies for educators and afterschool professionals to leverage in programming to ensure that students feel supported. The article gives suggestions for relieving the burden of the constant use of technology even in hybrid activities.

Lessons for Discussing International Politics 

ShareMyLesson has compiled several lesson plans on international politics to help educators host tough discussions around the crisis in Ukraine in a trauma informed manner.

How to Support Students Process Feelings

EducationWeek has released an article sharing some strategies for helping students to process worrisome news. The article emphasizes the importance of developing a safe space for youth to cultivate hope as they navigate different feelings and emotions!

Resources for Talking to Students and Youth About Ukraine

How to Talk With Students About the Russia-Ukraine War: 5 Tips: Given the ongoing situation and violent conflict in Ukraine, EducationWeek has compiled five tips for speaking with youth in a trauma-informed manner. The article hosts information on how to provide opportunities for students to share their thoughts and concerns over the crisis.How to Talk to Kids About Ukraine: The New York Times (NYT) has also released an article with strategies for supporting youth and students as they learn more about the situation in Ukraine.

3 Tools for Creating a Trauma-Informed Learning Environment

eSchool News has compiled three free resources for educators and afterschool professionals to leverage in order to develop a safe, and culturally responsive, learning environment for students.

Self-Care Resources to Utilize During September

September marks National Self-Care Awareness month! The National AfterSchool Association (NAA) has compiled several resources for afterschool providers to utilize throughout the month to encourage the individuals to prioritize checking in with oneself. The NAA also encourages programs to incorporate these practices in the personal and professional environments!

How to Prioritize Student Wellbeing This Year 

EducationWeek has published an article sharing ways in which educators and afterschool providers may prioritize student wellbeing.

EducationWeek Article: Mental Health Problems Loom for the COVID Generation – Here is what Schools Can Do

EducationWeek has written an article on how school districts, educators, and afterschool providers can help to provide services for youth as they begin to process the COVID-19 pandemic. There are strategies and insights into how schools and out-of-school time providers may collaborate to support young people.

NAMI Chicago: Youth Mental Health Education Website

NAMI Chicago recently released its youth mental health education website, which includes information, activities, and videos for young people in grades 3 and higher which aim to help foster discussions around mental health. There are also resources for families, caretakers, educators, and afterschool providers. These materials are available in Spanish as well. To access the website, click here.