Social Emotional Learning

Social emotional learning (SEL) is the process of acquiring the skills to recognize and manage emotions, develop empathy for others, establish positive relationships, make responsible decisions, and handle challenging situations effectively. Our approach to SEL is culturally-responsive, recognizing that children from different cultural backgrounds can be socialized to express themselves in different ways. As our mission is to empower all children to fulfill their potential intellectually and personally, social emotional learning is foundational to our work.

At NPES, we believe:

  • When children feel safe, understood, and valued by their teachers and classmates they are able to engage in academic inquiry and skill-building with their whole minds and hearts
  • How children learn is as important as what they learn
  • Cognitive growth occurs through social interaction
  • To be successful, children need to learn cooperation, assertiveness, responsibility, empathy, and self-control
  • Knowing the children we teach is as important as knowing the content we teach
  • Knowing the families of the children we teach is as important as knowing the children
  • How we as educators work together is as important as our individual competence.

Preschool through Fifth Grade
In preschool through fifth grade, the Responsive Classroom approach guides our work. You’ll see students collaborating around academic choice, class meetings that encourage connections, teachers being positive and respectful, rules developed as a community, logical consequences, students reflecting on their learning, and teachers modeling expectations and setting clear paths to success.

Middle School
In middle school, social emotional learning is adapted to the needs of early adolescents. Our advisory program, with a teacher mentoring and supporting small groups of students (while keeping parents updated on each student’s academic and social growth) provides the framework. Skills include:

  • Discussing challenging topics
  • Collaboration
  • Mentoring younger children
  • Goal setting and making plans to reach those goals
  • Service learning projects exploring human identity and building empathy
  • Resolving conflicts and mediation
  • Self-advocacy
  • Executive functioning
  • Giving voice to feelings in healthy, constructive ways
  • Managing stress and worry

The NPES SEL framework is based on the five competencies identified by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL): self-management, self-awareness, responsible decision-making, social awareness, and relationship skills.

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