Six Seconds' History in SEL

Among the original pioneers cocreating the worldwide movement in social emotional learning

A History of Leadership in Social Emotional Learning

Established in 1997, Six Seconds is the world’s community for emotional intelligence – in 200+ countries.

A pioneer in social emotional learning, Six Seconds’ education programs are enhanced by a transformational learning approach, scientifically validated EQ measures for youth adults, and school climate, several curricula targeted to Six Seconds EQ competencies, and a growing lessons database. Certification programs and resources are available for administrators, teachers, staff, school counselors and support personnel and all school and community leaders.

For a more in-depth history of the science of emotional intelligence, see this interview with Daniel Goleman.

2020 Six Seconds creates special POP-UP Festival content “GREEN13” to address Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 CLIMATE ACTION to support youth experiencing “Climate Grief” or “Eco-Anxiety.”  Six Seconds launches this program at virtual Climate of Emotions conference. These topics engage young changemakers working to address the climate crisis.


2019 Six Seconds helps organize the first-ever emotional intelligence conference at the United Nations Headquarters

2018 Six Seconds becomes partners with UNICEF World Children’s Day for POP-UP Festival to become the world’s largest social emotional learning project

2014 Six Seconds closes its for-profit offices around the world to 100% focus on nonprofit mission of building the EQ community 

2013 Six Seconds hosts the NexusEQ Conference at Harvard University

2009 after a pilot process, Six Seconds’ founders created Synapse as a lab school to showcase the effect of a fully developed emotional intelligence program integrated with a robust, constructivist education program

2008 Six Seconds’ methodology featured in O Magazine, “The New Improved Self-Esteem”

2007 At the Heart of Leadership published (now in 4th Edition and international best-seller)

2007 after years of additional research, the 3rd Edition of Self-Science was published

2004 4th NexusEQ Conference is at Sheraton Studio City, Orlando – site of the Sheraton case study

2004 “EQ for Families” curriculum published

2000 we held the first international conference on emotional intelligence, NexusEQ, including Peter Salovey, Candace Pert, Reuven BarOn, Daniel Goleman & Martin Seligman

1999 our first certification training outside the US was in Caracas, Venezuela — then London, England and then Johannesburg, South Africa.

1998 we held our first certification training to teach people how to use the Six Seconds methodology

1997 Karen McCown, Anabel Jensen, Joshua Freedman, & Marsha Rideout start Six Seconds to answer: “How do you actually use and develop EQ?”

1995 Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman, was published. It quickly became and international bestseller.  He wrote about Self-Science, our pioneering approach to social emotional learning as one of two models for teaching EQ:

“Self-Science is a pioneer, an early harbinger of an idea that is spreading to schools coast to coast…. A list of the contents of Self-Science is an almost point-for-point match with the ingredients of emotional intelligence — and with the core skills recommended as primary prevention for the range of pitfalls threatening children…. Were he alive today, Aristotle, so concerned with emotional skillfulness, might well approve.”

Goleman also calls the Self-Science process “a model for the teaching of emotional intelligence.”

1992 Daniel Goleman came to see the Self-Science process. He was researching to create a book on emotional intelligence

1983 Anabel Jensen became the Head of School at Nueva School, and together with Karen McCown refined the Self-Science methodology — and won two Federal Blue Ribbon Awards for excellence in education

1978 Karen first published Self-Science, the landmark SEL methodology, after 11 years of experimentation

1967 Karen McCown, cofounder of Six Seconds, started Nueva School, with a remarkable vision to blend academic and emotional development.

EQ solutions for social emotional learning

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