Social and emotional learning

Why is it important?

Social and emotional learning (SEL) refers to the process through which children and young people develop the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to:

  • understand and manage emotions
  • set and achieve positive goals
  • feel and show empathy for others
  • establish and maintain positive relationships
  • make responsible decisions

The importance of SEL cannot be overstated as it lays the foundation for children and young people to develop into well-rounded individuals. In today’s world, it is more important than ever to have a strong sense of social awareness and an ability to effectively navigate relationships with others.

Benefits of social and emotional learning

One of the key benefits of SEL is that it promotes mental health and well-being. Studies have shown that children who receive social and emotional learning during their education, and at home, are less likely to experience anxiety and depression, and are more likely to have a positive outlook on life. SEL helps children learn to regulate their emotions and respond to difficult situations in healthy and constructive ways, rather than relying on harmful coping mechanisms.

Another important aspect of SEL is problem-solving. Children who have strong SEL skills are better equipped to tackle challenges and obstacles, both in their personal and academic lives. Through SEL education, children learn to analyse problems, consider different perspectives, and make informed decisions that help them reach their goals. This not only prepares them for future challenges, but also helps them to feel more confident and in control of their lives.

In addition to improving mental health and problem solving skills, SEL is also essential for building positive relationships. Children who receive SEL as part of their education are better equipped to understand the emotions and perspectives of others, and to establish and maintain healthy relationships. SEL also helps children to develop better time management and study skills, which are essential for academic success.

Social and emotional learning skills are critical for academic success as well. Research has shown that children who receive comprehensive SEL education perform better academically than those who do not. This is because SEL skills such as self-awareness, self-regulation, and empathy help children to create a more positive and supportive learning environment. This in turn, fosters academic achievement.

Every child is different and learns and grows in their own way, so it’s important to find what works best for them. But the most important thing you can do as a parent is engage with your child.

What toys are good for social and emotional learning?

Educational toys can provide children with an enjoyable and interactive way to develop important social and emotional learning skills. By incorporating these toys into their playtime, children can develop the skills they need to succeed in school, in relationships, and in life. Here are a few examples:

Dolls and action figures

Dolls and action figures can be used to help children develop empathy, social awareness, and problem-solving skills. For example, children can play out different scenarios, such as resolving conflicts between dolls, which can help them understand different perspectives and develop their conflict resolution skills.

Board games and role-playing games

Board games and role-playing games provide opportunities for children to practise their social skills, such as taking turns, communicating effectively and working as a team. We recommend our Fun Play Geo Pegs and Geo Pegs & Board Set for social and emotional learning. They are a fun and interactive way to learn colours, improve fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, reasoning and

Art supplies

Art supplies, such as markers, crayons, and paints, can provide children with a creative outlet to express their emotions and develop their emotional regulation skills. Create and learn with our Alphabet Stampers Lowercase. Handy easy-grip stampers ideal for letter recognition and learning letter formation. Make learning fun by incorporating the stampers in art and craft activities. The sturdy grips are perfect for little hands.

Building toys

Building toys, such as blocks and Legos, can help children develop their problem-solving and spatial reasoning skills, as well as encourage collaboration and teamwork. Edx Education’s Math Cubes are a multifunctional manipulative that are great for social and emotional learning. They come together with a satisfying click and the building options are infinite.


Puppets can be used to help children develop their social awareness and empathy skills by allowing them to act out different scenarios and see the world from different perspectives. Children can practise expressing their thoughts and feelings through the puppet, which can help them to build confidence in their own communication abilities.

Emotion cards

These cards depict different emotions and can be used to help children identify and understand different emotions. They can also be used to help children develop their empathy skills by encouraging them to think about how others might be feeling. Emotion cards can also be used to help children learn to regulate their emotions.

Read more about how educational toys are great for child development including social and emotional learning in our blog. Children love exploring and learning through play – which is also our philosophy!

It is important to keep in mind that these toys are just tools, and it is the interaction and activities that children engage in with these toys that can support their social and emotional learning long term. Encouraging children to talk about their feelings and experiences, and modelling positive social and emotional behaviours, are also important components of SEL.

Academic, social and emotional – not just academic – skills are essential for children and young people to develop into well-rounded, successful individuals. By teaching children social and emotional skills such as social awareness, mental health, problem solving, relationship skills, and responsible decision making, we are preparing them for a bright and successful future.

View our full range of educational products for children of all age groups, abilities and developmental stages here:

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Edx Education – Heather Welch

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