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Guide

Supporting children's social and emotional wellbeing as they return to school

Social & emotional learning (or SEL) is an essential part of every child’s education. And it is widely recognised that a focus on emotional wellbeing and relationships will be critical to children’s ability to re-engage and learn when they go back to school following the Covid-19 lockdown.

Strategies to support children’s social & emotional wellbeing on returning to school

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Evidence-based programmes supporting social & emotional learning in primary schools

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5 reasons why SEL matters to every child

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5 reasons why SEL is critical to our Covid-19

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We know that children’s social and emotional needs are at the forefront of teachers’ minds as they prepare to welcome children back. 

To support schools to provide the nurturing environment that pupils need, we have created a set of resources focusing on the vital role that effective, evidence-based social & emotional learning (SEL) can play.

  1. Strategies to support children’s social & emotional wellbeing on returning to school: SEL can be integrated into everyday teaching and classroom situations. This short booklet provides a range of practical activities and strategies that teachers could find helpful as children return to school. No specialist training is required. 
  2. Evidence-based programmes supporting social & emotional learning in primary schools: Schools may choose to commission additional support from external providers. This document provides summary information on early intervention programmes designed to support SEL in schools that appear on the evidence-based EIF Guidebook.
  3. 5 reasons why SEL matters to every child
  4. 5 reasons why SEL is critical to our Covid-19 recovery: two A4 posters or handouts setting out the fundamental case for providing SEL in schools, which could be used by head teachers, trainers, or anyone who needs a simple story about why this support is so vital, at any time but particularly now.

All of these resources are based on our previous work on SEL in schools, particularly the guidance report, Improving social and emotional learning in primary schools, produced by EIF and the Education Endowment Foundation.

About the contributors

Dr Aleisha Clarke

Aleisha is head of what works, child mental health & wellbeing, at EIF.

Stephanie Waddell

Steph is assistant director for impact and knowledge mobilisation at EIF.

Dr Freyja Fischer

Freyja is a research officer at EIF.