The Power of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) to Improve Access to Education

Brain science proves that the social and emotional wellbeing of disadvantaged children is critical to improving their learning and attainment.

Unhappy children cannot learn.

Because the ICAM Programme is designed to overcome disruption, trauma and loss by building relationship skills, personal resilience, self-management and responsible decision-making, not only CAM, but all children affected by any form of separation and loss (such as separation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic) will benefit greatly when schools adopt the ICAM Programme.

There is strong evidence to show that investment in SEL and the creation of a safe and secure learning environment of Convivencia in school is highly cost effective, and that, through the application of SEL to improve life skills and the ability to learn of all children:


√ SEL teaching programmes bring major economic benefits to whole countriesboth in terms of productivity and in reduced social welfare/criminal justice costs.

The ICAM programme not only meets key needs of the target group, it also benefits countries as a whole by helping to ensure that:

√ through the ICAM programme, it is not only CAM, but all children, who will become more integrated and contributory members of society.


Enhancing Social and Emotional Learning and Wellbeing at school and at Home

UNICEF defines SEL as “A process of acquiring social and emotional values, attitudes, competencies, knowledge and skills that are essential for learning, effectiveness, wellbeing and success in life.”

These qualities include self-awareness, emotional literacy, resilience, persistence, motivation, empathy, social and relationship skills, effective communication, self-esteem, self-confidence, respect and self-regulation.

√ Research has shown that promoting students’ emotional health and wellbeing has the single most important impact of any intervention to improve overall academic achievement and attainment.

√ The ICAM programme supports schools in developing the social emotional and civic competencies and understanding of democratic values and fundamental rights of all children and other members of the school community by including an enhanced and comprehensive Social and Emotional Learning programme alongside the UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools programme, in the formal and informal school curriculum.


A programme of social and emotional learning (SEL) is seen by UNESCO, UNICEF and an increasing number of national and international childcare agencies as an essential component of the entitlement curriculum. CAM need additional SEL support to help them restore the damage to their social and emotional wellbeing caused by displacement and the trauma of migration.

√ Included in the ICAM training programme is guidance and instruction to enable school staff to work with and to train parents/carers. Parents/carers will learn how to support and protect CAM and how to reinforce and extend their SEL and wellbeing in partnership with the school.