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What is Open Circle?

Open Circle is a comprehensive, whole-school social and emotional learning (SEL) program for elementary schools. Open Circle provides training and K-6 curricula focussing on two goals:

  1. Strengthening students’ social-emotional skills related to self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, interpersonal relationships and problem-solving

  2. Fostering safe, caring and engaging classroom and school communities

Founded in 1987, Open Circle has reached over 360 schools, 90 districts, and 16 states across the U.S. It also reached educators and students as far away as China and Uganda.

In 2013, Open Circle’s highly effective program was recognized by CASEL in its exclusive Guide to Effective Social and Emotional Learning Programs.

Download the Open Circle: SEL+ Brochure (PDF)

What is Open Circle: SEL+?

To support our Identity and Belonging values and continue work in diversity, equity and inclusion Open Circle is excited to introduce a new component of our professional learning and training to adults within school communities through Open Circle: SEL+.

Open Circle: SEL+ offers training for educators to explore the importance of identity and belonging in school communities.

These trainings will examine how our identities influence our interactions with others and impact teaching and learning. The adult community remains the focus and cornerstone of this training in creating school culture, and supporting effective culturally responsive and inclusive SEL work in schools.

What makes Open Circle unique?

At Open Circle we “walk the talk” of social and emotional learning in schools.

We teach and model community building, establishing relationships, building safe and affirming learning environments, strengthening facilitation skills and developing listening, reflection and presence through our professional trainings with educators. Educators leave our sessions with concrete experiential learning to use in their classroom and schools.

We believe affirming and safe communities along with understanding identity are the foundational components for promoting effective SEL skills in schools. Our staff are educators with experience in culturally responsive practices and DEI work in elementary schools.

Open Circle is research- and evidence-based

The Open Circle program is based on extensive research and evidence.


The Open Circle model of social and emotional learning depicted as a series of concentric circles