SEL Theme: The Arts

SEL Theme: The Arts

Why Focus on Social and Emotional Learning and the Arts?

Numerous studies demonstrate how the arts promote empathy, self-awareness, self-management, and other executive functions associated with the core competencies of SEL. The arts empower students to create and explore while embracing risk-taking and failure as powerful tools for learning. Through the arts, students are able to explore their emotions, express themselves and exercise their agency, and safely enter into dialogue around challenging topics such as race, identity, fear, and much more. Arts education naturally promotes social emotional well-being by providing creative explorations that promote neural integration, the component that many psychologists and psychotherapists have identified as a key indicator of wellness.

Dr. Daniel Siegel, best-selling author of The Whole-Brain Child, No-Drama Discipline, and numerous other books on neural development, states that,


The major innovations in art, in music, in technology and science come from adolescent minds, but what do we do to support that innovation? Nothing really...We do very little to tap into this innovation. Creative explorations are fantastic for the individual and the human family.


In this collection, you will find resources to support student innovation as well as student social and emotional development.  You will fond resources  from the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools’ Visual and Performing Arts (FCSS VAPA) Department, the California County Superintendents Education Services Association (CCSESA) Arts Initiatives’ Culturally & Linguistically Responsive Arts Teaching and Learning in Action: Strategies that Increase Student Engagement and Achievement (CCSESA Arts Initiative), and many others.

Watch this two-minute video highlighting the cognitive benefits of arts education.

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