A call for cultivating both SEL and mindfulness in children

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This engaging article, written by Linda Lantieri (Senior Program Advisor for CASEL) and Vicki Zarzewski (Education Director at the Greater Good Science Center) for the Greater Good website, differentiates between SEL and mindfulness, and explains how the cultivation of both sets of skills in children are complimentary, and indeed, necessary.

Faced with a multitude of choices for SEL-related programs, schools often choose between mindfulness programs or SEL programs. The writers propose that they are two different areas, with different processes and outcomes. SEL works “from the outside-in”- an approach that focuses on the teaching of skills; and mindfulness works “from the inside-out”- focusing on inner experiences and building on innate capacities of kindness and empathy. Links are drawn between mindfulness and the 5 CASEL competencies within the article, showing how mindfulness can support the fostering of each group of competencies.

They further propose that one is incomplete without the other; that students who have a mindfulness practice may not have the skills to resolve conflicts, and students with SEL training may still be hijacked by their inner emotional reactions.

Citation: Lantieri, L. & Zarzewski, V. (2015) How SEL and Mindfulness Can Work Together. Retrieved June 26, 2015, from