New to the site? Try Quick User Guide

We track anonymous visitor behavior on our website to ensure you have a great experience. Learn more about our Privacy Policy.

Start Safe SEL Lessons

Prioritizing the whole child at the start of every class


In response to the pandemic, Renton School District in Washington state sought to support the health and wellbeing of students by creating “Start Safe SEL” to embed social-emotional learning practices in the day-to-day school experience.


District leaders updated lesson plan templates to include dedicated time for social-emotional learning. “Start Safe SEL” was designated as the first 15-minutes of every class, during which students would do a variety of activities including:

  • Breathing exercises

  • Feelings checks

  • Active activities

  • Class discussion questions, etc.

The district also identified additional social-emotional learning best practices for staff to use with students, such as consistently greeting students by name and creating calm-down spaces in classrooms and at their homes.

This strategy is a part of TLA's Hop, Skip, Leapfrog release, which explores the concrete ways in which schools and systems pursued student-centered innovation during COVID-19. Explore the full guide to find additional strategies, insights, and resources.