SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING @ YCS

Dear Families,

 

Our goal at YCS is to grow into confident and caring individuals. While we challenge and encourage our students academically, we continuously integrate activities into the curriculum that cultivate the social and emotional development of our students. We make every effort to create an environment where our students feel comfortable sharing concerns and/or observations, because the development of one’s Emotional Intelligence (EQ) has proven to be a predictor of a child’s future achievement.

 

There are five crucial competencies that support a person’s emotional and social development:

  • Self and other awareness: understanding and identifying feelings; and understanding that one's actions have consequences in terms of others' feelings;
  • Mood management: handling and managing difficult feelings; controlling impulses; and handling anger constructively;
  • Self-motivation: being able to set goals and stick to them, even in the face of setbacks;
  • Empathy: being able to put yourself "in someone else's shoes"; being able to take someone's perspective; being able to show that you care;
  • Management of relationships: making friends, handling friendships; resolving conflicts; cooperating; collaborative learning and other social skills 

Throughout the school day, children are encouraged to develop these competencies. Examples of these moments are and can be helping a child manage their frustration when not understanding a task, catching a “caring act”, addressing when you notice a shift in mood, pulling small groups to address recurring conflicts, and providing opportunities for children and adults to be role-models to others.

 

To reinforce this work, we are excited to integrate RULER into our curriculum. RULER is an evidence-based approach, developed at The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligenceto continue to develop emotional intelligence.

 

RULER teaches five key skills of emotional intelligence:

  • Recognizing emotions in one’s self and others.
  • Understanding the causes and consequences of emotions.
  • Labeling emotions accurately.
  • Expressing emotions appropriately.
  • Regulating emotions effectively.

Over the school year, our staff, students and families will engage in this thoughtful work, increasing community understanding. Students will engage in exercises that reflect this work and we look forward to partnering with you and sharing more about this approach and specific tools that are being used at school and can be used at home as well.

 

The first step in doing this work is understanding how much emotions matter.

An emotion is the immediate response to something that happens in the environment or evoked in the mind that causes a shift in:  thinking, breathing, heart rate, expression and behavior (fight or flight, avoid/approach)

 

Our students have begun this work, engaging in practices using tools called Anchor Tools to help understand and regulate emotions. The first Anchor Tool implemented in our school was the CHARTER. Every class has developed a Class CHARTER. The CHARTER is designed to build a positive culture and climate in the classroom and throughout the school. The charter is made up of agreed upon norms for how everyone wants to feel in school and what they need to do in order to feel this way, as well as  providing guidance on how to handle uncomfortable situations and times when their behaviors may not support the Charter norms.

 

The second Anchor Tool that was introduced is the MOOD METER.

You may have seen these 4 square charts with the colors red, yellow, blue and green? Within each color quadrant lies varied emotions which allow us to show how we are feeling in regards to Energy Levels and Pleasantness. We show this by plotting ourselves on this grid.

 

The Mood Meter is used every day to help us:

R: Show where we are on the Mood Meter, (Recognizing)

U: Think about what is causing us to feel this way, (Understanding)

L: Label by picking what word best describes out emotion, (Labeling)

E: Think about how we are expressing our emotion, (Expressing)

R: Thinking about if this is how we want to feel, and if so or not, what can we do to shift our emotions, (Regulating)  

 

When might we use the Mood Meter?

  • When we want others to be aware of how we are feeling.
  • To track our moods throughout the day and help us to understand when and why we feel certain ways and that we can control our moods/ shift our mood.
  • Coming back from lunch/recess.
  • Entering the classroom in the morning.
  • Coming back from a special, during or after an enrichment class

The third Anchor Tool is the META-MOMENT.

The meta-moment is one of my favorite tools we can use to regulate our emotions. It requires you to take a deep breath and visualize your “best-self” before reacting or responding to a situation. Calming down helps us to think clearly about what we want to do to reach our goals.

 

We look forward to sharing all about RULER with you at workshops, Family Fridays, and through correspondence. 

 

With Gratitude,

Samantha Kaplan 

Principal

Click below for more RULER Resources:

Practicing RULER at home

Achor Tools Overview

Acknowledging and Validating Feelings

Mood Meter Strategies

Meta-Moment Steps for Children