Building positive relationships, managing emotions, and making decisions.
In our Maternelle, social-emotional learning (SEL) takes place everyday, all day long. Intertwined in our curriculum, SEL guides how children learn what it means to be a student in a community of classmates. They develop attention and perseverance; take into account collective instructions; participate in activities, initiatives, and cooperate; and consider the rules of life together.
Beginning in PK4, school counselors lead students in biweekly social-emotional learning activities. Through these practices, students build a toolbox of social-emotional skills, including: self-regulation, such as achieving calm; self- and body- awareness, such as recognizing loudness of voice and personal space in relation to others; problem-solving, through sharing role-play and peace rug activities; kindness; patience; consequences; and more.
During SEL classwork, students interact in deeply meaningful ways with each other, becoming interested in peers and developing trusting relationships. Students feel a part of the classroom, are more comfortable in school, and are building a community.
In Kindergarten classrooms at the Maternelle, and in Lower School and Middle School classrooms, teachers utilize the research-based Responsive Classroom approach, which partners well with social-emotional learning. This approach provides a safe, challenging, and joyful climate for students throughout their years at French American. All of our students’ needs—academic, social, emotional, and physical—are important and recognized in this approach to teaching and learning.
The techniques used in the classroom are also implemented in the After School Program, ensuring consistency and creating a more cohesive structure and integrated experience for students, teachers, and staff
SEL in Practice
The Compliment Chair is just one example of how our students learn social-emotional skills. During the counselor-led Kindness Unit, one student selected at random sits in the Compliment Chair. Using a "compliment formula," each student and teacher in the class gives a compliment to the student in the chair. Every student will have a chance to sit in the chair. Through the activity, students practice and develop empathy and relationship-building skills.
Just Ask Our Students:
"We're all interacting with each other—we're not stuck in our own little world. We are interested and listen to other people. You really have to get to know other people." - Sylvia
"Teachers understand us, and give us time to do the thing we like so we're more motivated to learn." - Mina