Immediate Tools for Immediate Impact

SEL Chicago leads with immediately helpful tools for teachers, parents and others working with children and young people. These tools can assist with:


  • Classroom Management
  • Homework, daily routines, and getting to school


When we build awareness around child development, how children and adults needs and desires intersect in dissonant ways, and use strategies grounded in brain science that helps us strengthen our relationship, our responses to stressful situations create new opportunities to build connection and accountability.

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Why Humans Do the Things They Do

Human Beings are Complicated

Teaching and leading young human beings as they navigate academics and the work of learning social and emotional skills is challenging.  What happens sometimes looks and feels like an endless power struggle. 

Principles That Drive Human Behavior

SEL Chicago trainings are informed by the following core principles based on the work of Drs. Alfred Adler, Rudolf Dreikurs, Jane Nelson, Jody McVittie, Ross Greene, Dan Siegel, and Tina Bryson, among others:


  • We do the best we can with the tools we have.
  • Learning how to access our tools when we are triggered is an ongoing process.
  • Children’s behavior is framed from the fundamental human desire for connection and what is possible for their developmental stage.
  • All human beings seek belonging and significance.
  • All human beings have their own "private logic" - we perceive events, interpret them and make our own meanings, create beliefs about ourselves and others, and then decide our actions based on these beliefs.  
  • All human beings deserve dignity and respect.
  • All human beings desire to contribute.
  • Encouragement is deeply respectful tool that builds relationship.  Judgement, blame, shame and punishment are tools that decrease connection.
  • Mistakes are opportunities to learn, to build skills, to observe which skills need encouragement.
  • Kind and firm tools are deeply encouraging.


These principles support tools that help adults connect with children in the process of understanding the belief behind misbehavior.  Adults modeling and using these tools with fidelity help children learn the valuable life skills of self-regulation, resiliency and empathy. 

SEL Chicago Videos

SEL Chicago discusses the Positive Discipline Tool Connection Before Correction

Kristin Hovious of SEL Chicago discusses a self-regulation tool called the brain in the palm of the hand.