SIMBA Finds Social and Emotional Learning Faces Threats Going Forward

Press Release
Jun 1, 2022

According to a just-published report by SIMBA Information, pandemic related student learning losses and ongoing mental health stresses among young people are key factors in contributing to the ongoing and pressing need for teachers to continue to provide “social and emotional learning” (SEL) education in the classroom. However the report identifies two major threats--one current and one on the horizon—that threaten schools’ ability to maintain teaching these skills and competencies

The current threat is a political backlash in some quarters to the concept and value of social emotional learning instruction itself, and those pressures could put a brake on its growth if school districts or individual teachers become nervous or hesitant to offend or contradict those opposed to teaching SEL.

The threat on the horizon is the fact that federal ESSER funds that were allocated to schools for various learning assistance, including social emotional learning, must be obligated by 2023, leaving a potential void where funds once were available.

What is Social Emotional Learning?

Social Emotional Learning encompasses five core competencies with which most schools and districts with SEL strategies align. These are: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.

Some of the lessons that are included in a SEL program include how to show empathy to others, identify and manage emotions, resolve conflicts, enter into healthy relationships, achieve goals, be resilient, take responsibility, and recognize and make responsible decisions, among many other so-called “soft skills.”

SEL is part of a whole-child approach and not just for students who are facing a crisis.

Inside the Report

The complete report analyzes and provides data and information on all the forces impacting the growth in Social and Emotional Learning. According to SIMBA, sales of social emotional learning (SEL) instructional materials were $1.725 billion, up 25.9% over the previous year and are forecast to increase, though at a lower rate in 2023-2024. 

Also covered in the report are data on which age groups in the classroom obtain the greatest amount of SEL instruction, an analysis of digital vs. non digital materials; the key role of supplementary SEL material and forecasts of future sales.

Also covered is a description and analysis of the competitive landscape of publishers and providers that make up the SEL instructional sector. SIMBA has found that the landscape is quite fragmented, consisting of a wide range of new, smaller, national and local providers. Some of the providers create and disseminate evidence-based SEL materials, while others publish more informal, non-evidence based ones.  

The report also examines specific educational areas that relate closely or benefit from SEL, such as college and career readiness, diversity, equity and inclusion, integration into standard academic instruction, student engagement, professional development, the use of technology, challenges in selecting materials, assessment, and the need for adult SEL

Other key issues covered in the report include analyses of competitive trends including a breakdown of the major market segments (comprehensive vs niche; grade level; digital vs. print fee vs. free materials); the types of players in the market (non-profits, associations; universities, school districts, educators and large publishers); and a look to the future.

Rounding out the report are detailed case studies from specific schools, districts and states as well as profiles of select SEL Publishers’ offerings 

About Simba Information

Simba Information is widely recognized as the authority for market intelligence in the media and publishing industries. Its extensive information network delivers top quality, independent perspectives on the people, events, and alliances shaping the industry. Simba routinely assists clients and the press with publishing and media industry analysis. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Please direct all media inquiries to:

Corrine Gangloff



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