New Social Emotional Learning Curriculum Takes to the Streets…and Hallways, and Lunchrooms…

The 2014-2015 school year has started out in a very mindful way at Katherine Delmar Burke School, with the statement “What are your hopes and intentions?” appearing in chalk and paint in various areas across campus. It’s part of a theme, “Hopes & Intentions,” that was introduced during the first Lower School assembly through music, video and discussion. The 4th-grade students shared their academic and social intentions with the rest of the Lower School community. Chalk art was created and scattered on campus, which also prompted the rest of the community to think about the theme. The remaining grades are adding their hopes and intentions to crayon flowers posted underneath this banner.

This collaborative effort across multiple grades was the result of work by Yara Herman (Lower School Art), Jessica Nenner (Lower School Counselor) and Dynelle Chan (Kindergarten Teacher). The trio worked together over the summer on bolstering Burke’s Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum for the K-4 program. The curriculum celebrates and develops each girl’s sense of self and place in the community — to be her very own and unique Burke’s girl.

“I love that the scope and sequence of Social Emotional Learning provide a common language and common vision for students and teachers to explore together,” says Yara Herman, Lower School art teacher, who has been directing students to fill out their flowers in her class. “I also love that students are actively learning to share their emotional worlds with each other, and thus validating their social growth as much as their academic learning.”

Herman, Nenner and Chan developed a framework of five themes with grade-appropriate lesson plans that teachers in any class can use throughout the year. The five themes are:

*Hopes & Intentions
*Being an Ally
*Problem Solving

Appropriately, students have just transitioned into the “Gratitude” unit in November.

Does your school do something similar?

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