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Social and emotional learning competencies are included within physical education standards in the United States and abroad. Students should begin learning these important life skills in physical education at an early age, but most of the available teaching strategies target secondary environments. Physical educators can intentionally integrate social and emotional learning competencies in elementary settings through a combination of the skill themes approach and the personal and social responsibility model. This article provides a brief introduction to both the skill themes approach and the personal and social responsibility model, and an overview of four strategies for promoting social and emotional learning: (1) developing a student-centered learning environment, (2) creating progressions to help students learn social and emotional learning competencies, (3) being explicit about teaching social and emotional learning competencies, and (4) providing developmentally appropriate and relevant examples of transfer.
There is a current push to broaden the educational agenda by integrating social and emotional learning (SEL) competencies into the academic curriculum. This article describes how physical education (PE) provides a strong platform for integrating SEL standards into the curriculum. The alignment between SEL and the affective learning objectives of PE can be leveraged to advocate for the importance of PE within the broader curriculum.