The Competencies

The Five Essential Social and Emotional Competencies



Emotional and social effectiveness has significant consequences on children’s overall development, including mental and physical health.

A child’s emotional and social skills impact his or her ability to learn, motivation to achieve, and citizenship.
Children with self-awareness are able to:

  • identify their emotions
  • describe personal interests and values
  • accurately assess personal strengths
  • operate with grounded self-confidence
  • express hope in the future
  • demonstrate resilience

Children with emotional management skills can:

  • manage stress
  • control impulses
  • persevere and overcome challenges
  • set and monitor goals
  • express emotions appropriately

Children with social awareness demonstrate:

  • empathy for others
  • appreciation of diversity
  • tolerance for difference
  • appropriate use of shared resources

Children with positive relationship skills are able to:

  • make and maintain friends
  • cooperate with others
  • recognize and resist inappropriate social pressure
  • manage and resolve conflict
  • seek and ask for appropriate help

Children with responsible decision-making skills show:

  • common sense
  • consideration for ethical or moral standards
  • an understanding of social norms
  • concern for safety
  • respect for others
  • a willingness to contribute to a greater good
  • an understanding of the consequences of their actions


  • Elias et al., 1997
  • CASEL, Safe and Sound, 2005