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Social Emotional Learning
For our students to be truly successful we must not only strive to help them reach their full academic potential, we must also be committed to developing their social and emotional competencies. We understand that a student’s emotions and thoughts have a significant influence on his or her behavior and ability to learn at school. Teaching students how to regulate their emotions, thoughts and behaviors effectively in different situations enables them to be more socially aware and develop and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships. Social and emotional competency also has a positive influence on students’ academic performance and helps them make constructive and thoughtful choices at school, at home and in the wider community.
In the English and Chinese classrooms in lower school we develop social and emotional learning skills through the systematic teaching of the Toolbox Project. The Toolbox Project is a research-based, social and emotional curriculum that aims to foster self-mastery, empathy and resilience teaching all students 12 tools they can use throughout the day at school and at home.
The Toolbox Project allows for skill building in the core social and emotional learning competency areas of self awareness and self management; social awareness and relationship skills; and responsible decision making. We chose this particular program as the basis for social and emotional learning because it not only addresses these competency areas, but is also simplistic enough to allow for a common approach throughout the lower school — in English and Chinese classes, in specialist classes, at lunch and recess — to guide our students in understanding themselves and in empathizing and getting along with others.
The program has been expanded, in a developmentally appropriate way, to include Pre-K and middle school.
The Playworks program creates a place for every child on the playground — a place where every child belongs, has fun and is part of the game. The structured activities and games are managed by all lower school faculty and teaching associates.
Through a system that promotes positive behavior, inclusion and increased physical activity, Playworks fosters physical and social and emotional development in our students through safe, meaningful and fun play. Teachers encourage students to bring out the best in themselves and each other, and learn the value of fair play, compassion and respect.
An example of Playworks is “game of the week.” Each week a game of the week is introduced on each of our two playgrounds. The purpose of these games is to provide an opportunity for all children to participate in an inclusive activity that they can play for as little or as long as they would like. Students are encouraged to play the game of the week, however, it is always optional. There are also core games on the playground that all students know how to and can play, allowing them to move between activities seamlessly. Games include ultimate football, soccer, switch, kickball and wall ball.