Research & Content Development


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. MCEC aligns this comprehensive resource with Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), Whole Child Design, Social Emotional Academic Development (S.E.A.D.), national resources, and the U.S. Surgeon General's Advisory on Youth Mental Health (2021) to provide support for the overall well-being of military-connected children and youth.

The MCEC Military Child Well-being Toolkit provides evidence-based content meant to foster the emotional intelligence (EI), mindfulness, and overall well-being of military children. It also aims to support students of military families living with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and other injuries. Additional topics include suicide prevention and awareness, diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice, and LGBTQIA+. The MCEC Military Child Well-being Toolkit includes 13 interactive documents about these mentioned topics that contain several resources tailored to parents and professionals, and schools.

MCEC supports all military-connected students, and we provide resources, including the following materials, to create a caring community that will enable them to be college-, work-, and life-ready. 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 provider 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.

A special thank you to the Utley Foundation for funding the development of this project. Continued research and distribution is made possible through generous support from BAE Systems.

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What is Social Emotional Learning?


Social and Emotional Learning is defined by CASEL (2020): 


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 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 accelerated the 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 theCollaborative 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.   


SEL Diagram

The Surgeon General's Advisory on Youth Mental Health Well-being 


Development through Equity Lens

Integrating Design Principles

Watch CASEL Video


Topical Strategies & Tools 

Select each topic to learn more. 

PTSD, TBI, Invisible & Physical Injury

Emotional Intelligence


DEI, Social Justice, & LGBTQIA+

Mindfulness & Overall Well-being


Suicide Prevention & Awareness

Suicide Prevention & Awareness
  • Suicide Prevention 
  • Addressing Youth Suicide (podcast)
    This episode addresses the myth that “teens say they are suicidal to manipulate their parents and teachers.” While this may happen, a 2021 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration survey asked teenagers if they have had any suicidal thoughts in the last 30 days and an astonishing 3.3 million teenagers responded “Yes, I’ve had serious thoughts of suicide”.

    Brooke and Adam, speak with Dr. Daid Jobes, former President of the American Association of Suicidology, about the reality of suicide and suicidal thoughts among children and teenagers and highlight what you can do as a parent, guardian, or caregiver, to help prevent it.



Relevant Partner Resources

The MCEC Military Child Well-being Toolkit is a comprehensive resource designed to help military families navigate state-by-state academic policies and to provide social-emotional support as they transition around the world. Our research consists of private organizations, state & national agencies, and organizations.

Review some partner resources:

emotion graphic


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.


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.