School Climate and Social and Emotional Learning: The Integration of Two Approaches

Healthy schools support student learning, development, and well-being by providing safety, support, academic challenge, healthy foods, time and space to be active, and opportunities for social and emotional development. Healthy schools require a positive school climate that supports the social and emotional development of students and adults.

School climate and social and emotional learning (SEL) have often been treated separately by researchers and practitioners, but both are necessary to build healthy schools, are co-influential, and benefit each other. A positive school climate creates the conditions for SEL; the social and emotional competence of each member of the school community, both individually and collectively, affects school climate.

This brief reviews research on how positive school climates support SEL and how improved SEL contributes to improved school climate in elementary and secondary schools. The brief discusses school climate, SEL, and blended models that have effects on school climate and social and emotional competence.