• R - Recognize, U - Understand, L - Label, E - Express, R - Regulate

  • Overview

    RULER is an evidence-based approach to social and emotional learning (SEL).  Teachers and leaders implement the RULER skills to create and sustain a positive emotional climate, as well as support the individual development of emotional skills for students.  RULER creates a positive environment where students feel safe to learn and people get along with each other.  In this positive emotional climate, everyone can perform better.

  • The acronym RULER stands for the following emotional skills:

    • Recognizing emotions in oneself and others through facial expressions, body language, voice, behavior
    • Understanding the causes and consequences of emotions in oneself and others
    • Labeling emotions with accurate words from a nuanced vocabulary
    • Expressing emotions differently depending on context, situational expectations, and culture
    • Regulating emotions with effective strategies and supporting others in their regulation of emotions 


    The standards describe the content and skills for students in grades K - 12 for social and emotional learning.  Each standard includes five benchmark levels that describe what students should know and be able to do in early elementary (grades K - 3), late elementary (grades 4 - 5), middle/junior high (grades 6-8), early high school (grades 9-10), and late high school (grades 11-12).  These standards build on the Illinois Social/Emotional Development Standards of the Illinois Early Learning Standards.

    These standards have been developed in accordance with Section 15(a) of Public Act 93-0495.  This Act calls upon the Illinois State Board of Education to "develop and implement a plan to incorporate social and emotional development standards as part of the Illinois Learning Standards."


    Early Childhood:

    RULER for Early Childhood is a curriculum that consists of a series of Feeling Words units, which are connected to storytelling, creating personal connections, and identifying feelings in children’s daily lives. 


    RULER for Elementary School (K-5) is a developmentally appropriate and comprehensive curriculum that contextualizes and builds students’ emotional intelligence within their experience of the world.  Each grade consists of 18 units, which include both RULER Units and Feeling Word Units.

    Middle School:

    RULER for Middle School (grades 6 – 8) aims to contextualize students’ understanding of emotions and emotional intelligence within their understanding of the real world: personally, at school, in their communities, and in the world at large.  It is comprised of five units per grade, with four lessons in each unit, for a total of 20 lessons per grade, per year. Each unit culminates in a content-specific, standards-aligned project.