Afterschool Research: Social and Emotional Learning

Addressing the needs of the whole child

Strong communication skills, responsible decision-making, and self-confidence are critical skills young people are developing in afterschool. 

Research has found that social and emotional learning—developing competencies in areas like the ability to communicate effectively with others, being a team player, making responsible decisions, and persevering through challenging circumstances—is linked to behavior in school and attitude toward school. And teachers agree that social and emotional learning is critical to students’ success in school. This section explores the ways in which afterschool programs are embedding social and emotional learning into their curriculum, helping students develop their leadership skills, grow their self-confidence, and interact with their peers. 

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Afterschool: Fostering Protective Factors that Can Last a Lifetime (September 2019)

New research tells us that the adolescent years are a highly important developmental period for brain growth and “the second most critical period of development.” However, there are factors at the individual and community levels that impact the development process. This includes both risk factors that increase the likelihood that one will take part in unhealthy behaviors, such as substance misuse, and protective factors that spur healthy behaviors and development. This issue brief, accompanied by in-depth afterschool program profiles, examines the way in which afterschool and summer learning programs promote protective factors to help young people to build up the skills and competencies they will need to navigate life’s challenges and become the country’s next generation of leaders, thinkers, and trailblazers.


Health and Wellness Issue Briefs