Social Emotional Learning

Social Emotional Learning at P.S. 307

At P.S. 307 we are dedicated to improving the social-emotional learning and understanding of our students from pre-k through fifth grade. Social-emotional learning is the process through which children and adults learn, develop, and apply the knowledge, attitude, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

Our goal is to teach students and provide them with the understanding, strategies, and skills through lessons, activities, and demonstrations of the importance of becoming a kind, responsible, and respectful individual. Secondly, our goal is to have students apply their social-emotional learning across the school day and demonstrate the golden rule. We seek to teach and model how to resolve conflicts through peaceful and effective communication, how to discuss differences in opinion, and how to accept others when their attitudes, beliefs, and values differ from one’s own. Third, our goal is to teach students empathy and the importance of forming and maintaining healthy, positive relationships. As a school, we lay the groundwork to create an environment of trust and respect. We provide our students with the strategies and tools they need to learn how to work together to develop their ability to be cooperative learners. Finally, our goal is to incorporate opportunities, model, and demonstrate social-emotional development into project-based learning and other teaching styles across all subject areas. Providing the strategies and tools for effective social-emotional learning contribute to productive classroom environments where students are able to manage challenges in peaceful, respectful, and communicative ways.

IMG_0700

The 4R’s Curriculum & Project Wisdom

Our goal is to integrate social-emotional learning across subject areas throughout the school day. Each classroom follows lessons and activities from two evidence-based curriculums: The 4R’s and Project Wisdom. The 4Rs Program (Reading, Writing, Respect & Resolution) integrates social and emotional learning (SEL) and the language arts for pre-kindergarten to fifth grade. The 4Rs builds on an engaging, interactive curriculum that uses great children’s literature as a springboard for teaching social-emotional skills. In weekly lessons, teachers engage students in reading, writing, discussion, and skills practice aimed at fostering caring, responsible behavior, including:

  • building community
  • understanding and handling feelings
  • listening
  • assertiveness
  • problem-solving
  • dealing well with diversity
  • cooperation

The 4Rs curriculum is grade-specific:  Each grade has its own teaching guide, books, and age-appropriate activities. Each 4Rs unit begins with a Read Aloud of a children’s book, carefully chosen for its high literary quality and relevance to the theme. Next is Book Talk — discussion, writing, and roleplay to deepen students’ understanding of the book and connect it to their lives. Then comes Applied Learning — skills practice related to the theme.

By highlighting universal themes of conflict, feelings, relationships, and community, the 4Rs curriculum adds meaning and depth to literacy instruction. Since reading and writing are excellent tools for exploring conflict, feelings, and problem-solving, the 4Rs approach enriches conflict resolution instruction as well.

A rigorous scientific study found that The 4Rs had a positive effect on:

  • students’ social and emotional competency
  • students’ behavior
  • attendance
  • academic performance
  • classroom climate

Similarly, Project Wisdom is a character education curriculum which is used to supplement the 4R’s curriculum and provide classrooms with additional lessons to teach our students about the importance of developing character traits. Character education is an intentional effort to help students understand, care about, and act upon core ethical values. Students with good character are caring, just, and responsible. They have developed an internal motivation to do their best and to contribute to the world around them. Good character education improves social and emotional competencies as well as academic performance.

The six pillars which are studied include:

  • Trustworthiness
  • Caring
  • Fairness
  • Citizenship
  • Responsibility
  • Respect

The lessons are often discussion and/or literacy-based and are used at morning circles or morning meetings. They provide our students with understanding and the meaning of the characters traits and how we can show those traits across our school community, themselves, and their peers. The lessons and discussions encourage students to reflect upon the meaning of civic and personal values and the application of those values in their daily lives.

Community Meeting

Monthly Community Meetings

To further extend our social-emotional learning and develop our unity as a school, monthly community meetings are held where various SEL themes and character education traits are presented to the students. Our community meetings are held in two sessions, kindergarten through 2nd grade and 3rd through 5th grade. We meet in the gymnasium sitting family style side by side in a semi-circle. Presentations at the meetings discuss a particular theme or trait including how to be an upstander, bully prevention, empathy and conflict resolution, responsibility, respect for all, celebrating our diversity, gratitude and thankfulness, and many more. Presentations include interactive videos, read alouds, role plays, and guided discussions amongst the students. The goal of the presentations is for the students to learn the meaning and develop an understanding of the theme or traits, the purpose of their importance, and how they can show and apply those traits and positive actions in our school and home communities. After the presentation students work collaboratively with one another in various “SEL stations” where they the provided the opportunity to show what they have learned through different activities and produce their own work. Every community meeting leads to various posters and forms of artwork created by the students which are then displayed across the school building. Our meetings serve as an opportunity for our students and staff to come together as a family to learn, express ourselves, celebrate ourselves, and create collaboratively.