What frameworks exist to promote school wellbeing?

This resource centers around Martin Seligman’s PERMAH framework because it has been frequently studied and used in positive education curricula, but it is not the only framework available. Some school curricula, particularly in the United States, include SEL, or social emotional learning, as a way to promote wellbeing and student development. According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, or CASEL (n.d.), SEL is “the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions” (para. 1). Similar to Seligman’s model, CASEL’s model for social and emotional learning includes five core components: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationships skills, and responsible decision-making.

The CASEL framework shows that the five principles of social and emotional learning(SEL). These include: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making. Communities, caregivers, schools and classrooms work together to achieve these indicators through SEL instruction and classroom climate, schoolwide culture, practices and policies, authentic partnerships, and aligned learning opportunities.

The Positive Education Schools Association (2020), states that while positive education should not be confused with SEL curriculums and programs, it “encapsulates” many of the key components and goals of SEL (p. 15). Many of the interventions you will find under the PERMAH framework in this resource will also help support your efforts to improve SEL in your schools. Many other frameworks have been researched and developed to define wellbeing, particularly within the scope of education. If you find neither the PERMAH nor SEL frameworks to be the best fit for your school, please visit the Other Resources section for information about other researched-based frameworks.


Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). (n.d.). Fundamentals of SEL. https://edtechbooks.org/-YRQG

Positive Education Schools Association. (2020). Wellbeing in your school: A guide to understanding and implementing positive education, 2nd edition. https://edtechbooks.org/-YbBK

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