Social & Emotional Abilities

Compositive Model

Social & Emotional Abilities

Skills in this area include recognizing and managing emotions, developing caring and concern for others, establishing positive relationships, making responsible decisions, and handling challenging situations constructively and ethically.” Research has found that social-emotional and academic development are interdependent.

Promising practices – these apply to several of the sub-traits as well

  • Caring School Community is an intervention program for students K-6 that is designed to improve values, prosocial behavior, and the school community. Research has found that it improves prosocial behavior and friendly, helpful behavior. There is less evidence that it has an impact on academic achievement, attitudes, or values.
  • PATHS is a program for elementary school students designed to promote children’s social-emotional learning by fostering the development of social-emotional skills such as empathy and emotion regulation. Research has found evidence that the program reduces both externalizing and internalizing problems.

Prosocial behavior/empathy

Antisocial behavior is related to lower levels of academic achievement, while prosocial behavior is related to higher levels of academic achievement.


Students who participate in organized activities often develop enhanced leadership and teamwork skills.

  • Teamwork and leadership help develop social skills. Leadership also helps prevent middle school students from internalizing problem behaviors, according to a Journal of Happiness article from 2006 (no link available).

Social belongingness

Several studies over the years have found that a sense of belonging to a school community in meaningful ways leads to positive outcomes for youth, ranging from academic performance to motivation and self-esteem.


Gratitude tends to develop as children get older – it’s rare in children under seven. But among older children, there is a link between gratitude and happiness.


Fairness leads to better social and academic outcomes for children and adolescents. It also may be related to lower levels of emotional problems. 

  • Among middle school students, youth who were rated high in fairness were especially likely to be rated as popular.
  • Even after accounting for previous achievement, fairness is predictive of higher GPA among students.
  • Female adolescents demonstrate higher levels of fairness than their male counterparts.


Like fairness, middle school students who were rated high in forgiveness were especially likely to be rated as popular.


This one seems like a no-brainer, but love leads to improved social and psychological functioning across the years of childhood and adolescence, with positive effects even during early childhood.

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Learn more about Compositive’s independent school, located in Aurora, Colorado.