Dear Blue Families,
Children come to school to grow their academic and social-emotional competencies. Both of these areas are of great importance and need to be fostered through a well-balanced curriculum. Since we weren’t together physically as a group for over a year during distance learning, some of the social-emotional learning that happens organically was limited. After coming back to in-person learning, we have focused on restoring this balance by prioritizing building various social-emotional competencies.
During goals, students are working in small groups on teaching and learning different skills (mixed sports, parkour & art). Every few weeks, students make a detailed written plan of what they will be teaching and how. This helps develop their self-management skills, particularly with goal setting and organizing. In their groups, students take turns leading and following in order to develop communication skills and respect for others.
Students also have explicit social-emotional lessons in small quarter groups every week and alternate between meeting with either McKendree and Maren or Genevieve. In McKendree and Maren’s group, students focus on community-building activities and are often paired with one other classmate each time to help build connections, appreciate diversity, and build empathy. This is also a time students learn problem-solving techniques, often through role-playing using real-life scenarios. Students practice using i-Messages, active listening, and giving meaningful apologies. While meeting with Genevieve, students have been focusing on learning the core competencies of CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning). They have been participating in activities to build self-awareness and their emotional vocabulary. Identifying emotions through check-ins, the mood meter, and expanding “feeling” words through books and activities.
We also focus a lot on developing self-management skills. Every day after lunch, children come back into class and follow along to a short guided mindfulness video. Topics of the videos include meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, and other self-regulation activities. In addition to helping students transition from a busy lunch recess back into the classroom, these activities also provide strategies students can use throughout their day to help their bodies and minds calm down. The ‘Chill Spot,’ which is our student-named calm down corner, is another self-regulation tool for students. Here, there is a “wheel of choice” that they can spin with a number of calm-down strategies, such as mind jar, rainbow breathing, and drawing.
We’ve seen Blue students grow incredibly in their social-emotional competencies over the last few months! We look forward to continuing to foster and witness this growth throughout the remainder of the year.
Bundle Up! It is getting chilly outside but in order to follow COVID protocol, we still need to keep the windows open and the fans running. We suggest sending your child with layers, including a jacket and a beanie.
Waterbottles Please send your child each day with a reusable water bottle. Staying hydrated is so important to their health and learning!
Friday, December 17th: Noon Dismissal
Monday, December 21st-Monday, January 3rd- Winter Break
Tuesday, January 4th- School Resumes