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Social and Emotional Learning Toolkit

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Preparing Youth for Adulthood provides additional curricula and activities related to social and emotional learning:

Social Awareness

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) nurtures social awareness, the ability to understand and empathize with others' points of view. This part of the SEL Toolkit contains strategies and resources for increasing young people's social awareness.

Teaching Empathy

Active Listening and Open-Ended Questions

One way youth work professionals can teach empathy is by modelling active, empathic listening skills.

Handout: Active Listening

Handout: Open-Ended Questions

Teaching Tolerance: Developing Empathy

By explicitly teaching students to be more conscious of other people's feelings, we can create a more accepting and respectful school or community setting. Activities and lesson plans are available for elementary, middle, and high school ages.

Lesson Plans

Lesson Planet: Empathy Resources

A range of teacher-reviewed classroom resources are linked on this web page, including worksheets, activities, and handouts for various ages. Many are transferable to, or can be adapted for, settings outside the classroom.

Lessons, Tools

Greater Good Science Center: Empathy

This website features research reports, interviews, self-assessment, and other resources on empathy.

Web Pages

Reclaiming Digital Futures: Linking Social and Emotional Learning to Digital Learning

What does digital learning have to do with social and emotional learning? This resource highlights ways that digital learning programs can support youth outcomes around collaboration and empathy.

Article and Guiding Questions

Edutopia: Five Minute Film Festival

This series of short videos focuses on kindness, empathy, and connection.


Brené Brown on Empathy

In this video short, Dr. Brené Brown reminds us that we can only create a genuine empathic connection if we are brave enough to get in touch with our own fragilities.

Video (3 minutes)

Creating Inclusive and Safe Environments

inspirED: Social Awareness

Designed by teens, educators, and SEL experts, inspirED activities empower students to work together to create more positive school climates and foster greater well-being in their schools and communities. Many of the activities can also be adapted for use outside of schools.


Usable Knowledge: Accentuate the Positive

This brief article and one-minute video from the Harvard Graduate School of Education discuss the transformative power of "microaffirmations."

Article and Video

Identity Safe Classrooms: Resources

In the book Identity Safe Classrooms, authors Steele and Cohn-Vargas promote efforts to ensure that students' social identities are an asset rather than a barrier to success in the classroom. The publisher made the resources and worksheets available as free downloads.


Diversity Activities for Youth and Adults

Cooperative Extension of the State University of Pennsylvania has compiled diversity activities in two free PDFs.


More Activities

SALTO-YOUTH: Intercultural Communication Resource Pack

SALTO-YOUTH is a European network of eight resource centers advocating for advanced learning and professional training within the youth work field. This manual focuses on intercultural communication skills.

Training Manual

SALTO-YOUTH: Peer Education Approach in Cultural Diversity

This training manual focuses on peer education in cultural diversity projects.

Training Manual

Enhancing Cultural Competence in OST Programs

This Child Trends research brief discusses the elements of cultural competence and its significance for out-of-school time programs. In addition, it provides suggestions to practitioners for developing cultural competence and incorporating activities into their programs in order to benefit youth from a wide range of backgrounds.

Research Brief

Illuminating Differently Abled Awareness

Developed by Cornell University researchers, this curriculum sparks conversations about disability and inclusion among students with their peers, teachers, and parents. Its target age group is middle school. All curriculum materials are available online.


Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN): Educator Resources

GLSEN provides many resources on respect and inclusion, including lesson plans on how to create an inclusive and safe environment.

Web Pages

Nurturing Civic Engagement

Learning to Give: Youth Activities

Learning to Give provides meaningful, fun, and ready-to-use materials that will engage youth in giving to benefit the common good.

Web Pages

National Youth Leadership Council

This website serves as a clearinghouse for national service-learning efforts and materials.


Exploring Community Resources

MAPPED: A Youth Community Mapping Toolkit

The MAPPED Toolkit, written specifically for the city of Vancouver, is a resource for adults hoping to engage youth in community planning.


Photovoice Manual and Resource Kit

Produced by the Hamilton Community Foundation, this manual provides practical guidelines for those wishing to start a new Photovoice program.


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