Lynn McLaughlin January 2024

The focus has been shifting beyond traditional academic achievements to encompass the holistic development of students, with decades of research in support. There are countless renowned thought leaders like Simon Sinek and Jon Kabat-Zin as well as organizations such as CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning), Children’s Healthcare Canada, the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health… the list is expansive. Each has been instrumental in emphasizing the importance of emotional literacy in education and providing resources.

Change Agents
Simon Sinek, a renowned author and motivational speaker, stresses the significance of emotional intelligence in fostering success and well-being. In the context of education, Sinek advocates for an approach that goes beyond imparting knowledge and focuses on nurturing essential life skills. According to Sinek, emotionally literate individuals are better equipped to navigate challenges, build meaningful relationships, and contribute positively to society.

CASEL, a leading organization in the field of education, has developed a comprehensive framework for Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). The CASEL framework outlines five core competencies – self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. These competencies form the backbone of emotional literacy, providing a structured approach for educators to integrate SEL into their teaching practices.

Children’s Healthcare Canada recognizes the profound impact of emotional well-being on a child’s overall health. By acknowledging the connection between emotional and physical health, this organization underscores the importance of a holistic approach to education. Emotional literacy, as advocated by Children’s Healthcare Canada, becomes a preventive measure, equipping students with tools to navigate stressors and challenges early on.

Three Key Reasons Why Being Proactive for Well-Being in Schools
⦁ Research indicates that students with strong emotional literacy skills often perform better academically. The ability to manage emotions contributes to improved focus, resilience, and a positive attitude towards learning.
⦁ Emotional literacy fosters the development of strong interpersonal skills. Students who understand and manage their emotions are better equipped to build positive relationships with peers and teachers, creating a conducive learning environment.
⦁ Early intervention through emotional literacy programs can serve as a preventive measure against mental health challenges. Providing students with the tools to understand and cope with their emotions can mitigate the risk of emotional struggles later in life.

Positive Movement
Some countries have well-being embedded in education from early years or in childcare settings. When children learn these strategies at a young age, they have them for life. School Mental Health Ontario offers lessons from K-12 which are secular and exceptional, and it is currently an optional resource. Recent changes have added components of well-being to the grade 7 and 8 curriculum. Boards of Education have provided teacher training with programs through Mindful Schools or offered consultant support, but again, these are typically optional.

Incorporating emotional literacy into education is not just a trend; it’s a necessity. By prioritizing student emotional well-being, educators lay the foundation for a resilient, empathetic, and successful future generation.
Imagine the synergy we could create if every educator not only had the strategies to teach their students, but to embrace the tools themselves. It’s long overdue.
I would love to hear from you as I gather information globally. What is happening in your school, in your school district to support student and staff well-being? Reach out to me through email at or through my website

ResearchGate (2022) Jon Kabat-Zinn’s research while affiliated with University of Massachusetts Medical School and other places
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Simon Siniuk (2024) The Optimism Company
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CASEL (2024) Advancing Social and Emotional Learning
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Children’s Health Care Canada (2022)
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School Mental Health Ontario (2024)
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