We started out as a small group of passionate, experienced, and committed educators who live and work in Ottawa, Canada. Each day, we would see first hand the need and importance of creating a positive climate and ensuring that students have the skills and knowledge required to thrive socially, emotionally, and cognitively.
Collectively, we have seen the surge of behaviours, anxiety, and resulting lowered academic achievement. Our experience, our success with our approach and philosophy when it comes to student learning, as well as extensive research, informed us that Social and Emotional Learning was critical to an educator’s daily routine and teaching.
Our driving philosophy is that in order to learn, take risks, and thrive, students need to feel safe (Maslow), connected, and cared about at school.
We currently have like-minded contributors from all over the world.
For a long time, education has focused on the subject areas (i.e., Math, Language, Science…) as its pillars. More recently, as we realize that our students are faced with a future beyond our imagination, we have wisely put emphasis on the importance of critical thinking, collaboration, and digital fluency. While there is no question as to the significance of each of these components individually and or collectively, we have often missed the fundamental importance of a student’s social and emotional growth and the environment we need to create and foster in order for students to thrive and be successful.
Studies are showing that creating a positive community within a classroom and a school is the foundation on which the pillars of Math, Language etc. are supported. It has been proven repeatedly that children learn best and are more engaged when they feel safe, supported, reflected, and connected. A positive environment coupled with a strong social and emotional skill set are the keys to assist students in weathering the stresses and anxieties they face in our increasingly complex society.
There are many books and programs dedicated to the theme of Social and Emotional Learning; Tribes, Mind Up, and W.I.T.S. are a few examples. Sporadic and inconsistent use of character themed resources by educators does not make well-being, social-emotional growth, and positive community priorities in every classroom. With student mental health and anxieties reaching a point of crisis in our educational system, now is the time for Social and Emotional Learning to become the priority and the foundation of our teaching for all age groups.
Our hope, in the creation of SELspace, is to create a dynamic and user friendly K-12 resource that supports teachers as they encourage student efficacy, build positive community, and teach skills that promote social and emotional well being. We hope you are able to benefit from our efforts.
We would like to thank the Ontario Ministry of Education and their TLLP (Teacher Learning and Leadership Program) for choosing our initiative and entrusting us with the funding to do our research, collaborate with experts, and create this site.