Many children and young people in contemporary Europe are unfortunately coming to school carrying heavy social and emotional burdens which are detrimental to their learning and psychological well-being. Among the many challenges they may face that affect their education are poverty and social inequalities, bullying and cyberbullying, family conflict, consumerism, media exploitation and technology addiction, school pressure and stress, loneliness and social isolation, migration, human trafficking, mobility, and changing family and community structures.
Policymakers and educators across the world are increasingly coalescing around a specific approach to address these many challenges, namely, social and emotional education (SEE). SEE is intended for children to develop competences in both self-awareness and self-management, and to raise social awareness and improve the quality of their relationships. These skills combined improve the ability of children to understand themselves and others, express and regulate their emotions, develop healthy and caring relationships, empathize and collaborate with others, resolve conflicts constructively, enable them to make good, responsible and ethical decisions, and overcome difficulties in social and academic tasks. SEE is something that school should offer all children, including those affected by various forms of disability.