Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

Why do we care about social and emotional skills? Decades of research shows that emotional intelligence is essential to effective teaching and learning, sound decision making, physical and mental health, and success in school and beyond. Research also shows that when schools and homes partner to support children’s emotional development, children not only feel better, but they do better.

RULER, a program of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, is the basis of social emotional learning at PS 452.

RULER teaches five key skills of emotional intelligence:

  • Recognizing emotions in one’s self and others.
  • Understanding the causes and consequences of emotions.
  • Labeling emotions accurately.
  • Expressing emotions appropriately.
  • Regulating emotions effectively.​

RULER supports positive emotional climates and the development of these skills in both students and the adults in their lives. RULER begins with staff personal and professional learning, continues with classroom instruction and family engagement, and becomes embedded seamlessly into policies and practices school-wide.

PS 452 integrates RULER skills into our academic curriculum and provides opportunities for students and all the key adults involved in their education – teachers, administrators, and family members – to learn, model and practice these skills.

For more information about RULER please visit

RULER and Emotional Intelligence: Overview for Families

RULER Skills: RULER is an acronym encompassing the five key skills of emotional intelligence. Read about each skill below!

Recognizing: Identifying emotions in ourselves and others allows us to

  • Better understand others
  • Have positive social interactions
  • Work well in groups
  • Know when children need emotional support

Understanding: Knowing the cause of our own feelings and that an event may cause different emotional reactions in each person allows us to

  • Anticipate, manage, or prevent unwanted feelings in ourselves and others
  • Promote wanted feelings in ourselves and others
  • Support children’s emotional needs 

Labeling: Knowing feeling words allows us to

  • Communicate our feelings
  • Appropriately manage our feelings
  • Help children learn new vocabulary to express their feelings

Expressing: Learning how to display our feelings helps us to

  • Appropriately act in social situations
  • Properly model social behavior for children

Regulating: Developing strategies to manage feelings allows us to

  • Be more effective in reaching our goals
  • Feel more, less, or the same of an emotion
  • Make wise choices about how we respond to emotional situations


Practicing RULER Skills at Home

Practicing RULER at Home: To create a positive emotional climate at home, it is important to practice the five key skills of emotional intelligence with the children and other members of your family.

Recognizing: To recognize emotions, families can

  • Pay attention to your emotions and the emotions of your children. 
  • Point out and discuss the facial expressions, vocal changes, and body language that reflect different emotions.

Understanding: To understand emotions, families can

  • Anticipate, manage, or prevent unwanted feelings in ourselves and others Understanding
  • Promote wanted feelings in ourselves and others
  • Support children’s emotional needs

Labeling: To label emotions, families can

  • Use a wide range of emotion words with children. 
  • Encourage children to find the best word to describe their feelings

Expressing: To express emotions, families can

  • Talk about what your body looks like when you are angry, excited, sad, calm, etc
  • Help children evaluate the best time, place, and way to express their feelings

Regulating: To regulate emotions, families can

  • Model different effective strategies for children when you manage your own feelings
  • Help children find useful and successful strategies for managing the range of emotions they experience