Social and Emotional Character Development in Serbian Primary Schools: A Community of Practice Framework

Supporting educators in implementing social-emotional learning in their classrooms and schools in Serbia.

Through the Social and Emotional Character Development in Serbian Primary Schools project, Childhood Education International has designed and implemented a training series focused on social-emotional learning and supported primary school educators in Serbia in creating communities of practice around this topic.

Partnering with the Center for Interactive Pedagogy and with support from the John Templeton Foundation, CE International delivered a training series informed by evidence-based practice and research on what works best to build school capacities in social-emotional learning (also known as Social and Emotional Character Development, or SECD).

Schools are now implementing SECD practices and activities in their classrooms and sharing their best practices in their communities of practice and conducting participatory action research alongside researchers from the University of Belgrade. CE International is working alongside all partners to observe and assess student growth in social-emotional skills and how students and educators alike are increasing in their wellbeing and creating more positive school climates.

Project Goals

This project seeks to support schools to:

  • Build a stronger understanding of social-emotional learning
  • Incorporate SECD exercises and concepts into their classrooms and school curricula
  • Support students in addressing issues such as social exclusion and violence, building their sense of character, and striving to achieve their full potential
  • Identify ways to support and improve their own well-being as teachers and other education leaders

Project Structure

CE International and CIP have delivered trainings focused on skills in SECD across five schools in Serbia. The project has also supported educators in establishing communities of practice within and across schools to implement what they learned in the training and embed more SECD activities and approaches into the curriculum and after-school programs.

Educators have identified new ways to incorporate self-awareness, self-regulation, relationship skills, and critical thinking into the school curriculum.


More than 160 educators in Serbia have engaged in hybrid trainings as part of this project. Educators who participated in the training noted that they found it important and practical to learn how to apply SECD concepts in their classrooms.

Several modules from the training series have been approved and accredited by the Serbia Ministry of Education, which has identified SECD in schools as an issue of national importance. This designation will help more educators access SECD professional development resources, building capacity to provide social-emotional learning in more schools in Serbia.

“[The trainers] helped us see ourselves and our children more realistically… I am convinced that the skills acquired here can really change people for the better.” –Training participant

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