Social Emotional Learning & Trauma Sensitive


The Social Emotional Learning and Trauma Sensitive School Connection

It is important to use trauma-informed practices with all children and provide universal, trauma-informed supports throughout schools and classrooms. Social-emotional learning (SEL) is key for ensuring this happens.

Adult SEL Skills Are Directly Tied to Our Ability to Be Trauma Sensitive

Adults Need Social-Emotional Competencies:

  • to be able to foster a safe environment so that children feel supported and can thrive
  • to be able to recognize when someone is experiencing an emotion or not feeling safe
  • to have and use good listening skills and understand other perspectives, to see as best they can through the child’s eyes
  • to approach children with empathy and understanding, validating feelings and behavior, and build relationships
  • to build social-emotional competencies for students to empower all who are affected by adversity and help them cope with the trauma

Supporting Student SEL in a Trauma-Sensitive School:

  • helps children survive and cope in various situations
  • allows children to increase their ability to identify, express, and manage emotions
  • teaches children to connect their actions to their thoughts and feelings by noticing feelings and physical sensations in their bodies, such as heat (embarrassment, shame), pressure (stress), tingling, muscular tension (anger, nervousness)
  • teaches children to safely express their feelings in healthy ways
  • teaches children coping strategies for managing their feelings

A trauma-sensitive environment helps ensure all children will cultivate healthy behaviors and have opportunities to thrive in the face of difficulties and hardships.