SEL Resources for Parents, Families and Educators

​Hawaii State DOE schools are using social and emotional learning (SEL) to provide the skills students need to be self-aware, be socially conscious, engage in critical thinking, make responsible decisions, and foster a sense of connectedness and belonging. Learn more about SEL.

Social and Emotional Learning 101 for Parents and Families



What is SEL?

CASEL’s definition of Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to:  

  • Develop healthy identities,  
  • Manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals,  
  • Feel and show empathy for others,  
  • Establish and maintain supportive relationships, and  
  • Make responsible and caring decisions. 
Cultivating the social and emotional competencies of all members of a school community is important for creating models for student social and emotional growth. The Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has identified five core SEL competencies:

Schoolwide SEL refers to a process for developing a school community where there is systemic integration of academic, social, and emotional learning at four levels: 

  • Classrooms
  • Schools  
  • Families & Caregivers  
  • Communities


SEL at the classroom-level typically involves:  
  • Intentionally cultivating nurturing, safe environments that foster positive, caring relationships among students and teachers,  
  • Explicit instruction through which social and emotional skills and attitudes are taught and practiced in developmentally, contextually, and culturally responsive ways,  
  • Teaching practices such as cooperative learning and project-based learning, and  
  • Integration of SEL and academic curriculum.

At the school level, SEL strategies typically take the form of systems and practices that:  
  • Model social and emotional competence throughout the school community,  
  • Incorporate schoolwide policies and practices that promote SEL, and  
  • Integrate SEL goals and practices with universal, targeted, and intensive academic and behavioral supports.

The insights and perspectives of families and caregivers are critical to informing, supporting, and sustaining SEL efforts. Research suggests that evidence-based SEL programs are more effective when they are extended into the home. Avenues for family partnership may include:
  • Creating ongoing two-way communication,
  • Help caregivers understand child development, 
  • Help teachers understand family backgrounds and cultures, 
  • Provide opportunities for families to volunteer in schools, 
  • Extend learning activities and discussion into homes, and 
  • Coordinate family services with community partners.

Community partners such as out-of-school time providers, community-based organizations, health care providers, and other community institutions offer opportunities for young people to practice their social and emotional skills in settings that are both personally relevant and can open opportunities for their future. To integrate SEL efforts across the school day and out-of-school time, school staff and community partners should:
  • Align on common language and SEL-related goals, and 
  • Coordinate strategies and communication around SEL-related efforts and initiatives

Social and Emotional Learning Resources for Parents, Families and Educators

These resources help educators, parents and families strengthen their SEL skills and mindsets.


Ho‘oha‘aheo newsletter cover

The Department's primary publication featuring successes across our public schools.

View all Ho‘oha‘aheo Newsletters