Open Circle


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What is Open Circle?

Open Circle is a leading provider of evidence-based curricula and professional development for social and emotional learning (SEL) in Kindergarten through Grade 5. Open Circle's programming focuses on two goals: strengthening students' SEL skills related to self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, interpersonal relationships and problem-solving; and fostering safe, caring and highly-engaging classroom and school communities. Since its inception in 1987, Open Circle has reached over two million children and trained over 13,000 educators.

View the history of Open Circle here: Open Circle Milestones (PDF)

Also, you can download a printable version of Open Circle's Fact Sheet (PDF) and our Video List (PDF) for a sampling of our YouTube videos.


Our mission is to work with school communities to help children become ethical people, contributing citizens and successful learners. By helping schools implement Open Circle, we foster the development of relationships that support safe, caring and respectful learning communities of children and adults.


We envision a world where social and emotional learning is universally embraced and integrated into all educational communities serving youth.

Core Values

We are dedicated to the following values as cornerstones of our organization and we endeavor to exemplify and act in accordance with these values at all times.

  • Social and Emotional Learning and Development
  • Learning through Relationships
  • Identity and Inclusion
  • Safe and Caring Environments
  • Youth Leadership and Development
  • Growth and Innovation
  • Integration of Research, Theory and Practice
  • Collaboration and Shared Leadership


  • Unites schools with a common vocabulary, strategies and expectations for student behavior
  • Improves school safety, school climate and student and family engagement
  • Increases students' ability to listen, speak up, calm down, show empathy, express anger appropriately, cooperate and solve problems
  • Reduces students peer exclusion, teasing, bullying and fighting
  • Improves educators' classroom management, dialogue facilitation and ability to address students' social and emotional needs
  • Strengthens educators' own SEL skills, collaboration and trust
  • Buys back time for academics by proactively addressing behavior problems

Evidence-Based and Nationally-Recognized

Research has shown that Open Circle increases students' demonstration of pro-social skills, decreases violence and other problem behaviors, and supports an easier transition to middle school. Open Circle is listed in the U.S. Department of Education's Exemplary and Promising Safe, Disciplined, and Drug-Free Schools Programs Guidebook; the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices; and the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning's 2013 CASEL Guide to Effective Social and Emotional Learning Programs.