Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)

CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning) www.casel.org

In order for deep socio-emotional learning to occur, students must be repeatedly exposed to socio-emotional lessons on three key levels:

1. SEL Curriculum and Instruction

Explicit lessons (ie. "Counseling class") are designed and taught based on the CASEL framework's 5 key strands:

  • Self-Awareness

  • Self-Management

  • Responsible Decision-Making

  • Relationship Skills

  • Social Awareness

2. School-wide Practices and Policies

Socio-emotional learning is purposefully embedded within the instruction and everyday experiences for students from when they arrive to school to the time they leave the campus. Teachers collaboratively and explicitly focus on the ACS Approaches to Learning (explained further in the following section). Students are coached in the classroom, at recess, in the cafeteria, and during all the moments in between. The day is filled with teachable moments that allow our community to strengthen the same 5 key strands mentioned above.

3. Family and Community Partnerships

True, life-long socio-emotional learning takes place when the same goals (and hopefully same language) are experienced by students at school as well as at home and when acting as part of the greater community. Parents are encouraged to use the language of the ACS Approaches to Learning (Collaboration, Responsibility, Self-Directed Learning, and Citizenship) as well as the ACS Core Values (Courage, Integrity, Curiosity, and Compassion) when framing situations outside of school. Please consult one of our school counselors or sign up for an Active Parenting Now course if you would like to learn more.

Program Overview

At ACS, our counselors teach regularly-scheduled SEL classes to all students in the elementary school. For students in KG1 and KG2, a 40-minute class is provided every week. Students attend this class in the Dance and Drama room, allowing for flexibility and versatility in the learning engagements. Students in Grades 1 to 5 are provided with a 30-minute class every other week in their homeroom setting. Each quarter a specific core value is a focus of the lessons. Counselors are also mindful of being responsive to the needs that have arisen, and adjust lesson plans accordingly. Below you will find additional details regarding the focus of each quarter for Social-Emotional Learning.

KG1 and KG2

Throughout each school year, our K-5 counseling team helps students get more familiar and comfortable with a wide range of feelings and personalities. We teach kids that their bodies provide a lot of information about how they are doing, and that they can learn how to calm their bodies down, move for fun and relaxation, and that we can learn to connect and get along with others with good communication skills.

Through a combination of stories, play, games, discussions and other developmentally appropriate activities, students learn about how to respect other people’s space, show empathy, take ownership for their behavior and stay safe. Throughout the year students explore a range of social-emotional growth topics. In the fall classes are focused namely around the core values of curiosity and compassion, and focus on the following key topics and skills:

  • Learning about what a school counselor is and what they do

  • Transitioning into a new school year

  • Getting to know the new group and skills to succeed in a new class, such as: being friendly, kind, helpful and brave

  • Learning how to express yourself

  • Calming Down/Learning how to relax and talk positively to yourself

  • Handling Mistakes/Do-Overs with friends

In the second half of the year, the focus is on the core values of courage and integrity, and building on and integrating what has already been learned.

The skills and topic areas for the spring are:

  • Making and keeping friends

  • Inclusion (“everyone can play at ACS”)

  • Making positive choices—resolving problems peacefully

  • Cooperation, confidence, and transition/moving to a new school year

In social emotional class time, students engage in breathing and movement exercises, including the use of a breathing ball called a Hoberman Sphere (sometimes available at local malls/toy stores if you’re interested) that helps class members to work as a team to control and manage their breath. The children learn a wide range of breathing techniques and movement exercises, with increased independence, and leadership in the process. The Kimochi puppets (Kimochi means “feelings” in Japanese) are used to help the children to see, hear, and experience different emotions and personalities in a playful way.

If you have any questions, feel free to make an appointment with the KG1/KG2 Counselor: farwadevji@acs.sch.ae or stephaniesmith-waterman@acs.sch.ae from mid-September to mid-January 2020.

Grades 1 and 2

Quarter 1

Curiosity

Getting Ready to Learn

  • Learning about what a school counselor does

  • Reviewing transition into a new school year and making class agreements

  • Getting to know each other as a new group and accompanying skills, such as: being friendly, kind, helpful, and brave

  • Learning about feelings and different personalities

  • Kimochis: Cloud, Bug, Huggs

  • Personal space and self-control

  • Mindful breathing and movement

  • Skills practice

Quarter 2

Compassion

Communication Skills

  • "I statements"

  • Calming down skills and positive self-talk

  • Handling mistakes and do-overs (everyone makes mistakes)

  • Feelings/personalities (continued): people are different and react differently (Lovey Dov, Cat, Bella Rose)

  • Part I: Accepting differences/Inclusion "Everyone Matters"

  • Empathy

  • Filling Buckets

  • Mindful breathing and movement

  • Skills practice

Quarter 3

Courage

Problem-Solving

  • Making and keeping friends

  • Inclusion: "Everyone can play at ACS"

  • Making positive choices (Kelso's wheel) for self and others

  • Self-control

  • Feelings/personalities (continued): people are different and react differently: "Assume the best"

  • Taking responsibility for behavior

  • Mindful breathing and movement

  • Skills practice

Quarter 4

Integrity

Positive Self-Identity

  • Cooperation

  • Confidence

  • Transition

  • Good-byes

  • Feelings/personalities (continued): Part II: Accepting differences/Tolerance

  • Mindful breathing and movement

  • Skills practice

Grades 3 to 5

Quarter 1

Curiosity

Getting Ready to Learn

  • Learning about what a school counselor does

  • Reviewing transition into a new school year and making class agreements

  • Getting to know each other as a new group and accompanying skills, such as: being friendly, kind, helpful, and brave

  • Learning about feelings and different personalities

  • Understanding emotions

  • Recognizing what other people may be feeling; non-verbal communication

  • Personal space

  • Mindful breathing and movement

  • Skills practice

Quarter 2

Compassion

Communication Skills

  • Assertiveness

  • "I statements"

  • Listening skills

  • Gratitude

  • Empathy

  • Cyberbullying: what bullying is and what it is not

  • Part I: Accepting differences/Inclusion "Everyone matters"

  • Safety

  • Mindful breathing and movement

  • Skills practice

Quarter 3

Courage

Problem-Solving

  • Conflict resolution/Problem-solving

  • Managing anger

  • Managing stress, anxiety, fear

  • Assessing your learning style

  • Self-control

  • Managing frustration

  • Handling unkind behavior/put-downs

  • Mindful breathing and movement

  • Skills practice

Quarter 4

Integrity

Positive Self-Identity

  • Part II: Accepting differences/Tolerance

  • Dealing with gossip/rumors

  • Dealing with peer pressure

  • Developing confidence

  • Part II (continued): Accepting differences/Tolerance

  • Transitions

  • Good-byes

  • Mindful breathing and movement

  • Skills practice