The Military Child Well-being Toolkit

The MCEC Military Child Well-being Toolkit has been created to provide accessible social-emotional supports and resources directly to parents, educators, school counselors, administrators, and other youth-serving professionals working with military-connected youth.

Research & Content Development

 The MCEC Military Child Well-Being Toolkit provides social-emotional support resources for parents, educators, school counselors, administrators, and professionals who work with military-connected youth. It draws from recognized resources and approaches including:

The Toolkit’s evidence-based content fosters emotional intelligence (EI), mindfulness, and overall well-being for military children. It offers resources for families living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and other injuries. There are also resources on suicide prevention and awareness, LGBTQIA+, and diversity/equity/inclusion/social justice.

These tools are not substitutes for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek advice from your physician or other qualified health provider for questions about medical conditions. Never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this (or any) website.

MCEC thanks the Utley Foundation for funding this Toolkit. Continued research and distribution is possible thanks to generous support from BAE Systems.

What is Social Emotional Learning?

As an integral part of education and human development, Social Emotional Learning is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel, and show empathy for others, establish, and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.

Social and Emotional Learning is defined by CASEL (2020)

Social Emotional Learning is the process through which children and adults acquire emotional intelligence. MCEC’s Military Child Well-being Toolkit categorizes emotional intelligence as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, social skills, and responsible decision-making, similar to CASEL’s five components of Social Emotional Learning. The emotional, social, and mental health of military students plays a crucial role in their academic success.

Social, emotional, and academic development (S.E.A.D.) takes a holistic approach to support students through sound policies and evidence-based practices that advance education equity through school-family-community partnerships. The focus is on advocacy, building trusting and collaborative relationships, meaningful curriculum and instruction, and providing ongoing multi-tiered service system (MTSS) evaluation. S.E.A.D. requires district and campus administrators to revisit discipline policies, professional development, and address systemic inequities to empower students, parents, teachers, and other youth serving professionals to create a safe, healthy, and equitable school climate and culture.

S.E.A.D. encourages shifting the emphasis from “fixing the child” towards a collaborative approach within the school setting, district policies, and community resources to create an equitable learning environment for all students (ED

Why Social Emotional Learning?

COVID-19 advanced the need for school leaders to address the whole-child and equitable education to promote student overall well-being.  Academic success occurs when students have supportive relationships and opportunities to develop and practice social, emotional, and cognitive skills in the classroom and/or virtual classroom.   

The pandemic has acceleratedthe need for adult Social Emotional Learning in the workplace. Teachers, school counselors, administrators and staff are encouraged to model best practices of the five core clusters of social and emotional learning: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. Adult Social and Emotional Learning is required for the successful implementation and best practices of education equity and the foundation to build a culturally competent environment for all within a school or community workplace (Weissberg and colleagues, 2015).   

According to CASEL, or the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, there are over 200 studies that demonstrate Social and Emotional Learning programming: 

  • students’ academic success rate or GPA increase by 11%  
  • student dropout rates decrease by about 12%   
  • behavior issues and physical aggression decreased about by 42% 
  • bullying among students with disabilities decreased by 20% 

Social and Emotional Learning undoubtedly improves academic success and overall quality of life for the students.   

Cantor, P., Lerner, R. M., Pittman, K. J., Chase, P. A., & Gomperts, N. (2021). Whole-child development, learning, and thriving: A dynamic systems approach. Cambridge University Press.  
CASEL. (2020a). Resources: SEL background and research. Retrieved from: 
CASEL. (2020b). SEL implementation tools and resources. Retrieved from: 
Duchesneau, N. (2020). Social, Emotional, and Academic Development through an Equity Lens. Education Trust.  
Weissberg, R. P., Durlak, J. A., Domitrovich, C. E., & Gullotta, T. P. (2015). Social and emotional learning: Past, present, and future. In J. A. Durlak, C. E. Domitrovich, R. P. Weissberg, & T. P. Gullotta (Eds.), Handbook of social and emotional learning: Research and practice (pp. 3-19). New York, NY: The Guilford Press. 

Disclosure Statement: These tools are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Have a Question? Ask an MSC!

If you have a question about academic transition, education options, or how to best meet the needs of your military-connected child, connect with a Military Student Consultant. 

Our MSCs truly understand the challenges related to military life and they stand ready to serve.

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