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  • Whole Child Counseling

Free Social Emotional Learning Curriculum, Programs, Training, and Lesson Plans

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

There are so many resources available online these days. I've collected a bunch of free mental health, social-emotional learning, behavioral health, and wellness resources to share with you here. At the time of writing this blog post, the following social emotional learning SEL and mental health programs, curriculum, lesson plans, and resources are all free. Please note that this may change over time. This blog post is packed with information on free resources that you can use in your classroom or counseling office. From lesson plans to websites, we have you covered. So read on and get started. And please contact me if you have an additional free SEL resources to share and I will update and add to this blog over time, so be sure to bookmark this page as well.

Whole Child Counseling SEL Subscriber Library

On my blog right here, I provide a free SEL Resource Library for subscribers! You can follow this link to sign up. I've got all kinds of goodies including a social story, positive notes home, teacher gifts, a visual schedule, and so much more! When you sign up, be sure to use a personal email, as some districts/workplaces may block emails and also follow the link to the automatic opt-in verification email to be signed up. I also send out a new free resource each month.

Free Training and CEU's for Mental Health Professionals

There are some awesome trainings available through Core-Well CEU for free! I have taken some amazing play therapy and expressive arts therapy training (both free and paid) for CEU's through this site (you can also get a subscription) or check out these free trainings:

Alliance for a Healthier Generation has some great free trainings for educators as well. I took the one called "Filling Your Cup: Comprehensive Self-Care Strategies Curriculum" and I loved the focus on boundaries, but they have many more trainings too! These is a good resource for district-wide SEL for teachers.

Be Good People

Be Good People was developed as a quarantine project by a team of educators who work for the St. Croix River Education District (SCRED.) They've got tier-1 school-wide instruction resources for grades K-12 and tier 2-3 or special education interventions for grades K-12 as well. There are lessons, extension activities, and community-building resources. It's meant to be customizable to your students needs and it incorporates CASEL's safe elements.

Harmony SEL

Harmony SEL is a free online SEL curriculum designed with five core principles in mind. Those principles include discussions about diversity and inclusion, teaching children about empathy and using critical thinking, using communication, developing problem solving, and managing peer relationships. This is all packed nicely on their website, and has numerous grade levels to choose from. They range from Pre-K all the way to grade six, and includes out of school upper and lower grades! Being a free resource for teachers and counselors, its absolutely jam-packed with curriculum to follow and build from. Harmony SEL also offers advanced social-emotional learning training, and remote learning services.

The Compassion Project

The Compassion Project is designed to help teachers and educators provide a “compassion education” through the use of its online resources. These resources include short, engaging videos to present to students, curriculum and lesson plans, as well as digital lessons that can be self-driven or group-driven. The course itself is very accessible, and being an online resource it is incredibly easy to incorporate into daily use. A resource definitely worth looking into!

Beautiful Me

Beautiful Me is a program for girls by Self-Esteem Rising that was developed by the Hance Family Foundation. This curriculum was created to help students gain a higher self-esteem and improve their emotional health. They also provide training for educators as well. They came to our district and trained our staff, and even gave us all the materials and supplies to carry out this program! Very cool and some of the projects are expressive-arts therapy inspired which I loved!

Dove Confident Me

Dove Confident Me is a self-esteem program that is designed with 11-14 year olds in mind. It is a workshop aimed to help improve body image and is completely free and accessible to educators who are interested. As well as helping to build body image, it is also an excellent resource for educating about self-esteem.

Missouri State School Counseling Curriculum

The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has provided resources for educators to provide SEL lessons to their students, and it’s all available for free! It is a publicly accessible resource that has lesson plans that cover a broad range of topics including small groups, and it includes info regarding trauma and suicide prevention. The topics it covers include anger management, careers, coping with life changes, interpersonal changes, being a new students, self awareness, and self control. Many of these topics can be covered through all ranges of students, but some like careers

Choose Love

Choose Love is an incredible resource and has a Choose Love for Schools program is “designed to teach students, educators and staff how to choose love in any circumstance thereby creating a safer, more connected school culture.”. Its being used world-wide to help provide SEL education to schools and communities. It is designed to align with many different educational standards, such as CASEL and Common Core. It can be applied to many grade levels, Pre-k through twelfth grade. There are other programs too, including a program called “Brave New World” that would be excellent for helping educators work with students who have post-COVID trauma. The programs even have Spanish translations, which makes this resource incredibly valuable!

Overcoming Obstacles

Overcoming Obstacles is a free, researched based online program for SEL education broken down into easily usable lesson plans. What sets this apart from other resources is the sheer abundance of material that they have to offer. There are extensions to the material that can supplement the main curriculum, and to top it all off, it’s free to use for anyone! There are several grade levels to choose from, being sectioned as K-2, 3-5, Middleschool, and High School. Each have their own topics to choose from, ranging from basic topics like Self-Control and Being Resposible, to more advanced ones such as Communication and Managing Personal Resources. A resource worthy of application at any level!

Start with Hello

Start with Hello is a program is a program by the Sandy Hook Promise organization designed to help children improve their empathy skills. The program carters to students from K-5 and 6-12, having a wide array coverage in… Okay look I know this isn’t complete but there isn’t much I can do here.

Erika’s Lighthouse

Erika’s Lighthouse is a program designed with student mental health in mind first and foremost. The entire program is built on four pillars, those being classroom education, teen empowerment, family engagement, and school policy & staff. This resource is entirely free to use with a sign up, and while the four pillar model might seem small, this isn’t all there is. There are classroom lessons about depression awareness and suicide. It should be mentioned now that this rsource is primarily for teens, hence the “teen empowerment” section. While an SEL source that is free to use, its not for all grade levels.

See Learning

See Learning is a free resource for educators, designed around a module based course. You do need to set up a free account to access. Every module is designed differently, having resources within them to help with topics such as empowering students, student awareness, creating opportunities, finding ways to support students, and even supporting your own abilities. The course is designed to help educators better themselves with SEL, and is fairly quick and easy to take in. Worth looking into for any educators interested in SEL.

Counselor 1 Stop

Counselor1Stop is an easy to access database of hundreds of resources for counselors to use. Being organized A-Z, there are topics ranging from ADHD, electives, and even work ethic. While this is a free resource, it is still under construction so there is a possibility that some resources may be unavailable.

Second Step Free SEL Resources

Second Step is an online SEL resource for educators looking to improve their SEL toolset. It has programs for students in pre-K, K-5, 6-8, and even educators and families. The resources span many subjects, but some include Being Grateful for Big and Little things and Bully and Joking. These resources can be PDF documents, but there are also some interactive activities as well that can be utilized. There is a paid portion of this program, but they offer some content for free.

We Do Listen

The We Do Listen Foundation is a foundation by Inner Peace Enterprises that has the website, which is a very useful website for educators! Incorporating the Howard B. Wigglebottom franchise, the website has many valuable lessons based around listening, dealing with bullying, managing anger, belonging/special needs, and more. This website is excellent for educators looking to incorporate SEL in their classrooms, and not only that its from the same people behind Howard B. Wigglebottom. This will more than likely be a smash hit in the classroom, and worth looking into.

Resilience Education Project Tier 2 Intervention for Internalizing Concerns

This REP Tier 2 Intervention for Internalizing Concerns resource has a curriculum, workbook, and family guide. The sessions are split up into grades 4-5 and grades 6-8 and are meant to be done in a five small-group lessons. Students learn skills to manage their strong emotions, address negative thoughts, and problem solve within challenging social or academic situations.

SAMSHA Anger Management Workbook

This SAMSHA workbook for substance use disorder and mental health clients was written for adults but I think it could also be used with older adolescents. I'm including it because it's a good free workbook with topics like events and cues, anger control plans, the aggression cycle, cognitive restructuring, assertiveness training, etc

Centervention Free SEL Activities

My school district subscribes to Centervention, and they send out some helpful weekly SEL freebies. They also have them listed here in this library with 90+ resources.

Emotional ABCs

Emotional ABC's is currently free right now free for full-time teachers and school counselors. I've been using this for a while (I have the DVD's LOL) and I like this program for very young kids like kindergarten and preschool age! My students love the monster character named Moody.

Using Kindle Unlimited for Free SEL Picture Books

There are soo many free picture books if you have a kindle unlimited account! Kindle Unlimited is a great way to get access thousands of ebooks, including many picture books that are perfect for social emotional learning. You can get unlimited reading on any device, (think projecting it onto a smartboard in the classroom or screen share on telehealth!) plus unlimited listening to audiobooks. I like that there are no due dates or late fees, so you can keep your books as long as you want. With social emotional learning, picture books can be a great way to teach kids about emotions, empathy, and other important life skills. And with Kindle Unlimited, you can get access to tons of social emotional learning picture books for free! So if you're looking for a great way to encourage social-emotional learning in your kids, and you are a fan of bibliotherapy, be sure to check out Kindle Unlimited.

The books are often updated, but right now here are a few I have recently used with my students:

So if you are looking for a social emotional learning curriculum, program, or training to help your students, I hope you found this blog post helpful! Let me know over on instagram!

PBIS World

PBIS World is a site that lists common concerns and behavioral issues kids might be struggling with from anxiety to bullying to stealing, and everything in between! Once you identify the behavior, you can then get ideas for tier 1, tier 2, and tier 3 interventions for that concern.



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