Responding to Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Needs in School


All children are capable of working through challenges and can learn to cope with stress.  Resilience is the ability to adapt and bounce back from stress, adversity, failure, challenges, or even trauma. It is a skill that kids can develop as they grow. Here are some resources to help teachers and support staff engage in this important work.

This InBrief video series from Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University is a three-part sequence about resilience. These videos provide an overview of Supportive Relationships and Active Skill-Building Strengthen the Foundations of Resilience, a working paper from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child.


Watch these videos to learn about the fundamentals of resilience, which is built through interactions between children and their environments, visualize the science of resilience, and see how genes and experience interact to produce positive outcomes for children, and learn how responsive exchanges with adults help children build the skills they need to manage stress and cope with adversity.

Part 1 - What is Resilience?

The science of resilience can help us understand why some children do well despite serious adversity. Resilience is a combination of protective factors that enable people to adapt in the face of serious hardship, and is essential to ensuring that children who experience adversity can still become healthy, productive citizens. Watch this video to learn about the fundamentals of resilience, which is built through interactions between children and their environments.

Part 2 - The Science of Resilience
One way to understand the development of resilience is to picture a balance scale or seesaw. Protective experiences and adaptive skills on one side counterbalance significant adversity on the other. Watch this video to visualize the science of resilience, and see how genes and experience interact to produce positive outcomes for children.

Part 3 - How Resilience is Built

Children are not born with resilience, which is produced through the interaction of biological systems and protective factors in the social environment. The active ingredients in building resilience are supportive relationships with parents, coaches, teachers, caregivers, and other adults in the community. Watch this video to learn how responsive exchanges with adults help children build the skills they need to manage stress and cope with adversity.

This Center of the Developing Child- Harvard University  provides key concepts and information about Resilience.

Early childhood is a time of both great promise and considerable risk. Having responsive relationships with adults, growth-promoting experiences, and healthy environments for all young children helps build sturdy brain architecture and the foundations of resilience

What Trauma Taught Me About Resilience” by Charles Hunt was recorded at TEDxCharlotte. He emphasizes that resilience is one of the most important traits a person can have. He helps students and young professionals build resilience, believe in bigger and greater for themselves, and create the educational, financial, and professional plans to get there.

Daring Classrooms, a 2017 Brené Brown keynote recorded at SXSWedu, discusses how a daring classroom is a place where both teachers and students commit to choosing courage over comfort, choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy, and practicing values rather than professing them. She notes that personal risk and vulnerability are essential to courageous and resilient schools.

The District Leader’s Guide to SEL and Equity 

Social-emotional learning and equity are interwoven. To explore what advancing SEL and equity looks like on the ground, we asked the following question: What is your district’s most important practice for promoting SEL and equity? 

In this guide, we compiled their strategies and advice with feature articles by three district leaders, and key lessons drawn from  fantastic contributors across the country.

Michigan Model for Health logo

Michigan Model for Health Curriculum (MMH) is a comprehensive health education curriculum in the classroom. The MMH targets pre-K through 12th grade students utilizing a skills-basedapproach. It teaches students the skills and knowledge needed to build and maintain healthybehaviors and lifestyles. Using a skills-based approach the MMH covers content in Social andEmotional Health, Personal Safety, Substance use and misuse, nutrition and physical activity and HIV and other STI education.

Becoming a Resilient Person: The Science of Stress Management is a multi-session, archived course instructed by Dr. Clayton Cook, which focuses on teaching individuals the science behind becoming a resilient person. By the end of this course, you will have learned about the knowledge and skills that you can apply in your life now and in the future. 

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Adapting and Implementing a School-Based Resilience-Building Curriculum Among Low-Income Racial and Ethnic Minority Students

This detailed abstract published in Contemporary School Psychology outlines how a resilience curriculum can be adapted and implemented among predominantly under-served, ethnic and racial minority youth through a robust community-academic partnership.

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Promoting Internal and External Resiliency from the National Association of School Psychologists PREPaRE Training (Workshop 1, 3rd Edition).

Building Resiliency: Helping Children Learn to Weather Tough Times 

from the National Association of School Psychologists’ website offers five ways to promote resiliency in children and help protect them from long-term ill effects of difficult experiences.

Key Trauma-informed SEL Practices graphic

Transforming Education: Trauma-informed SEL is an approach to foster youths' social-emotional development with practices that support all students, but is particularly inclusive and responsive to the needs of children and youth who have experienced trauma. This approach calls for creating reliable learning environments for students who have experienced adversity and trauma. The research-based toolkit is rich with resources to explore, strategies to implement in the classroom, and prompts for reflections aimed at facilitating educator learning and engagement with the material.