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SEL-focused after-school programs

Even though SEL goals are common in programs that operate outside of school time (a history we review below), only one extensive review has examined whether after-school programs that focus on social and personal development hold promise for boosting students' SEL development. In this article, we go over the findings from that analysis, paying particular attention to the features of effective programs. We also briefly review a broader set of studies that investigate the impacts of participating in SEL-focused after-school programs. To structure the article, we ask five questions specific to SEL and after-school programs: 1. Are after-school programs well suited for promoting SEL? 2. Is it realistic to expect after-school programs to affect SEL? 3. Do after-school programs affect SEL? 4. Why have findings thus far been so disappointing? 5. Where should researchers and practitioners focus in the future? We conclude with policy implications for promoting SEL via after-school programs. (author abstract)
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