Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply 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, and make responsible decisions (Payton et al., 2000). Social and emotional skills are said to be essential to being a virtuous student, citizen and worker (Casel, 2015). School leaders acknowledge the significance of student well-being on all areas of outcomes. In a survey conducted, over 80 per cent of principals identify student emotional/mental health as being ‘very important’ for academic achievement (Rowling, Whitman, & Biewener, 2009).

Teaching children social and emotional skills helps to promote resilience – the capacity to cope and stay healthy in spite of the negative things that happen through life.

What does social and emotional learning have to do with learning?

Research has shown that children’s learning is influenced by a range of social and emotional factors. How well children do at school is affected by things such as:

  • how confident children feel about their abilities show effectively they are able to manage their own behaviour
  • how well they can concentrate and organise themselves
  • how effectively they can solve problems
  • how positively they are able to get on with teaching staff and with peers
  • how effectively they take into account others’ needs
  • how well they can understand and accept responsibilities.
  • how social and emotional learning is taught

Clairvaux Catholic School has selected and implemented programs that best suit our particular needs based on our school. Social and emotional learning programs that have been shown through research to improve children’s social and emotional competence are more likely to achieve goals related to improving students’ mental health.

School-wide classroom teaching of social and emotional learning allows staff and students to share a common understanding of what it is all about. Importantly, the emphasis of its teaching needs to be not just on learning about emotions and relationships, but on practical skills that children can apply across a range of situations at school, at home and in the broader community. Classroom teaching which is offered regularly will maximise the benefits. Opportunities for learning can be coordinated across the school so that children can continue to develop their skills with age and experience. 

At Clairvaux we have a carefully designed Health and Well-being Scope and Sequence to ensure a streamlined, sequential approach to our Social and Emotional Learning. 

The topics covered include Zones of Regulation (for emotional regulation), positive coping, stress management, building relationships, growth mindset and gratitude. 


'Kimochi' developed by Ellen Pritchard Dodge, Charlotte Rice, Diann Grimm and Jennie Douglas

The Kimochi program uses characters to explain and support children in managing difficult feelings. It is research based and draws on theories of child development and Social and Emotional Learning. 

For more information please click here: 

Year 1

'Worry Woos' developed by Dr. John Irvine

Worry Woos is an emotional intelligence program that aims to build resilience. It uses a series of characters to teach children how to manage more complex emotions. Emotional well-being is important for success and happiness and learning these skills at an early age supports children as they move through life.

For more information about the Worry Woos program please click here: 

Year 1 to Year 6 

 Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships 

     (Published by Department of Education and Training)

The Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships (RRRR) learning program has been designed to assist schools to develop students’ social, emotional and positive relationship skills. Developing social and emotional skills in children has been shown to improve mental health and subjective well-being. 

The learning materials cover the following topics:

Emotional Literacy        Personal Strengths        Positive Coping

Problem Solving            Stress Management      Help Seeking

The Berry Street Education Model (BSEM) is integrated into our Social and Emotional Learning to complement the programs we use. For further information about the BSEM please follow the link: 

In addition to the explicit teaching of social and emotional skills, we have a number of activities and initiatives in place to support our children. Some of these include:

  • Buddies - Preps and Year 5
  • Transition to school program
  • Clairvaux Student Council (CSC) reps Years 3-6 to provide student voice
  • Lunchtime activities including quiet play, yoga, mindfulness, organised sports and ICT
  • Circle Time
  • Restorative Practice process 
  • Big 5 Rules and consistent Behaviour Management 
  • Prep Picnic run by the Parish to welcome new families
  • Clairvaux Classic - school community fun run
  • Clairvaux Carnivale (every 2nd year)
  • Family Movie nights run by the P&F
  • Mother's Day Breakfast
  • Father's Day Breakfast
  • School Counsellor
  • Affiliation with CASEA through Barwon Health, using the Zones of Regulation Program to support children showing signs of anxiety or emotional difficulties
  • Partnership with Project Thrive to develop and implement strategy for best practice, informed by Positive Psychology and Well-being Science
Take a Breather

Twice a day, after break times, we engage in mindfulness. Neuroscience has found that our brains are constantly changing and being re-shaped. The focus of our awareness determines which networks are strengthened so if we turn our attention to being calm, focussed and positive this is what will grow. Our take-a-breather time allows awareness to be enhanced through being mindful. When practising mindfulness the amygdala (the fear centre of the brain) shrinks and there is a decrease in production of the stress hormone, cortisol. Mindfulness and meditation also supports emotional regulation, improves creativity, empathy and enhances mood. So this technique can be used not just at school, but students can transfer this strategy into other situations in their everyday lives.

To see some of the research click here