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Bridging Social Emotional Learning and Leadership

By May 17, 2022August 3rd, 2022Schools, Upcoming Events

A written collaboration between
yLead and Captains & Poets

The past two years have placed an unprecedented draw on our resilience, and we are seeing the impact in our classrooms globally. In Canada, schools are closing because there aren’t enough teachers and there are an unprecedented number of uncertified teachers in the classroom. In Australia, just last week we saw strike action with similar staff shortages and a NSW teachers’ poll revealed that 73% of educators state their workload is unmanageable.

Operating from a place of functioning instead of enrichment has become normal in many school settings. By extension, many youth have lost opportunities to build and explore their leadership abilities through extra curricular activities and interactions within the community, in camps, and reduced face-to-face social interaction in the classroom. Our students are receiving less opportunity to develop the very leadership skills they need to navigate the current challenges.

But as experienced leaders know, with every challenge comes a gift – and the gift of the past two years has been the call to hone the ability to lead oneself. Self-leadership is about how we show up in the world and about developing an inner compass to navigate our daily lives. In the wake of turbulent times, it is our duty to share the gift of self-leadership with our young people. Enter Social Emotional Learning (SEL).

The need to constantly monitor and maintain a positive sense of well-being has put self-leadership at the forefront of SEL competencies. A critical aspect of well-being today is resisting complacency, disengagement and resilience fatigue, holding an open heart and mind, honouring what is coming up for us and others, and maintaining a positive sense of agency in the world.

Self-awareness is the foundation of self-leadership in our lives, which lays the foundation for effective leadership in the world. The need to nurture these skills and remedy the losses of the past 2+ years is critical.

So how do we help young people tap into this innate gift?

What experiences do they need to realise their potential and become the best version of themselves?

How do we teach empathy, compassion, self-compassion, resilience, gratitude, curiosity and courage in a way that resonates and sticks?

How do we help them honour their unique experience of things while strengthening their ability to relate to and lead others?

By cultivating a safe and supportive environment we foster a sense of connection to self and others. By nurturing self-awareness, we promote individuality and allowing authentic expression of oneself. Through everyday lived experiences, we invite opportunities to cultivate their innate leader, reflecting on their personal journey, and forging a pathway that develops self-efficacy in their skills and abilities to live purposeful lives.

It is clear that students would benefit from experiences and opportunities that teach them they have everything within them to thrive in a changing world. And educators need support to deliver accessible programs and experiences that give access to foundational tools that assist students in harnessing their innate abilities.

To this end, yLead and Captains & Poets are combining their efforts to provide transformational strategies and resources that make it easier for educators to nurture student leadership abilities.

Together, they will be hosting an interactive webinar in mid-June to engage educators in stories that celebrate leadership in classrooms over the past year. The webinar will include a panel of educators and students from both sides of the world exploring how they are bringing leadership to life in their classrooms. Join us to learn about how SEL and leadership intersect to support students on their leadership journey and hear from them firsthand what they need the most.

Thursday 16th June 7:30am – 8:15am AEST/Wednesday 15th June 5:30 – 6:15 pm EST



yLead, a registered charity based in Australia, believes in the collective power of young people and advocates passionately for experiences that empower them to positively contribute to their world. With over 30 years of experience, yLead offers tailored experiences that engage students in Year 5 – 12 in interactive leadership and positive education workshops. These workshops allow students to understand what it means to be a leader (with or without a badge) and provide opportunities for them to actively explore their own skills and strengths.

Captains & Poets is based in Canada and is a Kindergarten to 12 program designed to help young people become the best, most authentic version of themselves by giving them an inner compass to help guide them. The program bridges Social Emotional Learning and Inclusion initiatives to support critical conversations around identity, wellbeing, leadership, self-leadership, and fostering a positive sense of agency in the world.