The RULER Approach

    RULER is a research-based n approach to social emotional learning from Yale University that teaches emotional intelligence to people of all ages, with the goal of creating a healthier, more equitable, innovative, and compassionate society.

    RULER Skills

    RULER is an acronym of the five key skills of emotional intelligence. Read about each skill below!


    Recognizing emotions in ourselves and others allows us to:

    • Better understand others
    • Have positive social interactions
    • Work well in groups
    • Know when children need emotional support


    Knowing the cause of our own feelings and that an event may cause different emotional reactions in each person allows us to:

    • Anticipate, manage, or prevent unwanted feelings in ourselves and others
    • Promote wanted feelings in ourselves and others
    • Support children’s emotional needs


    Knowing feeling words allows us to:

    • Communicate our feelings
    • Appropriately manage our feelings
    • Help children learn new vocabulary to express their feelings


    Learning how to display our feelings helps us to:

    • Appropriately act in social situations
    • Properly model social behavior for children


    Developing strategies to manage feelings allows us to:

    • Be more effective in reaching our goals
    • Feel more, less, or the same of an emotion
    • Make wise choices about how we respond to emotional situations 

The Anchors of Emotional Intelligence

  •  The RULER Anchor Tools build the emotional intelligence of school leaders, teachers and staff, and students and their families. The four RULER Anchor Tools are: 

The Charter

  • The Charter is an agreement guided by the questions: 

    • How do you want to feel when we're together? 
    • How will we help each other have these feelings? 
    • How do we respond when others are not living the Charter? 

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The Mood Meter

  • The Mood Meter is a tool that helps us understand our emotions. It's made up of four different quadrants with a range of energy and pleasantness. Students and staff check-in daily on the Mood Meter and plot their emotions. This helps build the mental framework for understanding our emotions and how they affect us. 

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The Meta Moment

  • The Meta-Moment is a pause between the moment something happens and our response. Its our steps are: 

    • Something Happens
    • Sense: Noticing body, thoughts, feelings like sweaty palms and a racing mind 
    • Stop: Taking a deep breath
    • See Your Best Self: Remembering the person you want to be
    • Strategize & Succeed: Use an action or thought strategy. For example taking a walk, getting a drink of water, remembering there is more than one way to look at a situation.

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The Blue Print

  • The Blueprint is a set of questions for resolving conflicts: 

    • What happened? 
    • How did I feel? 
    • What caused my feelings? 
    • How did I express and regulate my emotions? 
    • How might my actions have affected others? 
    • Next time how might I respond differently? 

    RULER (SEL) / RULER Program