Research-Based Programming

We draw on multi-disciplinary research to harness the intersection of well-being and identity to bring SEL to life in more powerful ways.

Captains & Poets is grounded in Neuroscience, Psychology and Mindfulness


We draw on the study of neuroplasticity, the impact of brain function on how people think and behave, as well as  interpersonal neurobiology to promote student well-being and connection.


We draw on Cognitive, Social and Positive Psychology to harness the innate drivers that help students understand themselves and engage with the world around them in ways that enable them to thrive.


We draw on Mindfulness research to optimize student’s ability to be more aware of their thoughts, feelings, reactions, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment so that they can respond in positive ways.

What is SEL & Why is it Important?

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is the foundation of classroom learning. When students are more self-aware and feel connected and valued as individuals they are primed to reach their full potential.

Research shows that people with greater self-awareness and social skills are better able to manage daily challenges with resilience and more likely to thrive academically, socially, and professionally in their lives.

Common sense tells us that incorporating SEL programming into standard educational practice supports safer, healthier, more effective classrooms. Implemented well, SEL programs have great potential to yield better attitudes toward self, school, and others; greater engagement and resilience in facing challenges; higher academic performance; heightened well-being, empathy and compassion; reduced bullying and conduct issues; and, a more cohesive social fabric.

SEL gives:

  • Students greater self-efficacy and ability to self-regulate.
  • Teachers a greater foundation for engagement in classroom learning.
  • Schools a more positive culture.
  • Workplaces more well-rounded and collaborative employees and more effective leaders.

“In the long run, greater social and emotional competence can increase the likelihood of high school graduation, readiness for postsecondary education, career success, positive family and work relationships, better mental health, reduced criminal behavior, and engaged citizenship.” (Hawkins, Kosterman, Catalano, Hill, & Abbott, 2008; Jones, Greenberg, & Crowley, 2015)

An Integrated Approach to SEL

Because SEL skills are so important to students’ mental health and social development, SEL is increasingly being integrated in school curriculum. The example below from Ontario, Canada is designed to help students foster their own overall health and well-being, positive mental health, resilience and ability to learn and thrive.

Students learn about:

identifying and managing emotions

coping with stress 

positive motivation

building relationships

deepening their sense of self

thinking critically and creatively

SO they can:

express their feelings and understand the feelings of others

develop resilience

build a sense of hope and the will to keep trying for their goals

support healthy relationships and respect diversity

build and understanding of their identity and feel they belong

support decision-making and problem solving 

According to CASEL

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) names five broad and interrelated competencies that help guide students and educators alike in the ongoing quest for learning how to better understand ourselves, create relationships with others, make responsible and caring decisions, and work together to achieve goals.

Self-Awareness   |  Self-Management   |  Social Awareness   |  Relationship Skills   |  Responsible Decision Making 

SEL can broadly be understood as the processes through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to manage their emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. (Weissberg & Cascarino, 2013) 

Students participating in SEL programs showed enhanced SEL skills, attitudes, positive social behavior (24%), and academic performance (27%), and lower levels of conduct problems and emotional distress. (Durlak et al., 2011). 

SEL interventions that address the five core competencies increased students’ academic performance by 11 percentile points, compared to students who did not participate.

Students participating in SEL programs showed improved classroom behavior, an increased ability to manage stress and depression, and better attitudes about themselves, others, and school.

SEL can also be a powerful lever for creating caring, just, inclusive, and healthy schools that support all young people in reaching their fullest potential. SEL advances educational equity and excellence through authentic school-family-community partnerships to establish learning environments and experiences that feature trusting and collaborative relationships, rigorous and meaningful curriculum and instruction, and ongoing evaluation. SEL can help address various forms of inequity and empower young people and adults to co-create thriving schools and contribute to safe, healthy, and just communities.

"Captains & Poets focuses deeply on self-awareness AND social awareness using language accessible to all students Grades K - 12! They support educators with insightful, engaging and relevant lessons that help educators model and grow all five of CASEL's competencies."
– Dr. Krista Leh, SEL Consultant, Resonance Ed

How We Align to CASEL

Captains & Poets’ curriculum is directly aligned to CASEL competencies which are designed to “educate the heart and inspire the mind.” 

We address these competencies by empowering young people with an inner compass that gives ready access to how they are feeling, being and operating so they can constantly “come back to centre” to be their best selves. Captains & Poets harnesses the innate desire for connection alongside students’ intrinsic abilities and natural propensity for self-efficacy. The Captain and the Poet offer an intuitive language that gives access to fundamental questions like:

  • Who am I? (Identity)
  • How do I fit in? (Inclusion and Belonging)
  • Who am I being in this moment? (Self-Awareness)
  • Who do I want to be in the future? (Self-Leadership)

We highlight the following throughout the curriculum:

  • self-awareness around what is innate and natural within
  • self-compassion when conflict arises between their inner and outer worlds (and compassion for others)
  • self-acceptance of all parts of themselves and their human makeup
  • self-expression from a broader repertoire of attributes, emotions, values and choices
  • social awareness including empathy, compassion, taking others’ perspectives, and inclusive behaviours
  • self-leadership as a pathway to being their best selves

Self-Awareness | Connection | Inclusion & Belonging | Leadership

Bring Captains & Poets To Your School!

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