CASEL Alignment

Download the CASEL alignment chart

CASEL’s SEL Competencies and the Second Step Program

The following illustrates how the evidence-based Second Step program elements align with CASEL’s core social-emotional learning (SEL) competencies. Note the considerable overlap across CASEL’s core SEL competencies. This reflects how self-regulation and social-emotional skills are built across the K–5 Second Step curriculum.


What is CASEL?

Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) is the nation’s leading organization advancing the development of academic, social, and emotional competence for all students. Their mission is to help make evidence-based social-emotional learning an integral part of education from preschool through high school. To that end, CASEL has identified five interrelated SEL core competencies: self-management, self-awareness, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.

What is the Second Step Program?

The Second Step program is a universal, classroom-based program designed to increase students’ school success and decrease problem behaviors by promoting social-emotional competence and self-regulation. The Second Step program is recognized as a CASEL-SELect program in CASEL’s guide to preschool and elementary programs that are “well-designed, evidence-based social and emotional learning programs with potential for broad dissemination to schools across the United States” (Effective Social and Emotional Learning Programs—Preschool and Elementary School Edition).

How Does the Second Step Program Develop Core SEL Competencies?

The following outlines key skills developed through the various Second Step program elements.

Brain Builder Games (K–3)

Key Skill(s) Developed

Executive-function skills

CASEL Core SEL Competencies


Skills for Learning

Key Skill(s) Developed

  • Focus attention
  • Listen with attention
  • Identify and use self-talk
  • Be assertive
  • Remember directions
  • Stay on task
  • Ignore distractions

CASEL Core SEL Competencies

  • Self-Management
  • Self-Awareness


Key Skill(s) Developed

  • Identify and understand one’s own and others’ feelings
  • Build vocabulary of feelings words
  • Begin to take others’ perspectives
  • Listen to others
  • Have empathy
  • Show compassion

CASEL Core SEL Competencies

  • Relationship Skills
  • Responsible Decision-Making
  • Self-Awareness
  • Social Awareness

Emotion Management

Key Skill(s) Developed

  • Identify and understand one’s own feelings
  • Recognize strong feelings
  • Calm down strong feelings
  • Use the Ways to Calm Down

CASEL Core SEL Competencies

  • Responsible Decision-Making
  • Self-Awareness
  • Self-Management

Problem Solving

Key Skill(s) Developed

  • Friendship skills
  • Calm down before solving problems
  • Describe the problem
  • Think of many solutions
  • Explore the consequences of the solutions
  • Pick the best solution

CASEL Core SEL Competencies

  • Relationship Skills
  • Responsible Decision-Making
  • Social Awareness

About the Second Step Program

The evidence-based Second Step program is the premier SEL curriculum in the United States, reaching more than 10 million school children in the U.S. every year. The universal, classroom-based program promotes the development of students’ social-emotional competence and self-regulation skills. Students with these skills are better able to maintain healthy relationships with peers and adults and have more coping strategies to manage stressful situations. They’re also more likely to benefit from academic instruction.

Second Step K-5 kits

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