Bennett Day School News

What is Social-Emotional Learning?

Today’s classrooms are full of students from a variety of backgrounds, and the goal is always to accommodate each student as an individual. One way in which educators strive to promote a safe, positive learning environment is through a method called social-emotional learning, or SEL. This scientifically-proven way of teaching creates a foundation that emphasizes a child’s feelings and interactions to help them in turn understand and manage their emotions, show empathy for others, and demonstrate responsibility.

How Social-Emotional Learning Works

SEL is based on the idea that natural social interactions cause an emotional impact that influences learning. Students are taught how to understand what they’re feeling, resolve conflict and work as a team in a positive and productive way. By implementing small, frequent opportunities for these interactions, students benefit from teachable moments that give them real-world skills.

Benefits of Social-Emotional Learning

Through SEL, students learn social and self-awareness, relationship building, and responsible decision-making. Once students learn these skills, they go on to show less depression and anxiety and choose to engage socially more often. In addition to gaining these lifelong skills, many students also experience decreased emotional distress, improved academic performance, and fewer conduct issues.

Social-Emotional Learning from PreK-12

There are a variety of ways teachers can implement SEL in their classrooms. From meditation and visualization to group sharing and games, there are many enjoyable methods that work for a variety of age groups. Through these regular and engaging activities, students learn how to regulate their emotions and express themselves within a group to reach a mutually beneficial solution.

Bennett Day School Early Childhood and Lower School Educators participate in professional development with Responsive Classroom, an evidence-based approach to teaching that focuses on the strong link between academic success and social-emotional learning in PreK-4 classrooms. Teachers incorporate many Responsive Classroom principals, including daily morning meetings, into class routines.

In Middle and Upper School, every class is paired with an advisor who leads students through an advisory curriculum. Our students start each day with advisory, which gives them the space and support to:

  • Build trust and meaningful connections with peers and teachers
  • Engage in discussions around identity and sense of self
  • Strengthen executive functioning skills 
  • Set SMART goals in all areas of development (academic, social, physical, etc.)

In addition, our advisors provide one-on-one mentorship for each of their advisees, meeting regularly with each student to discuss their academic and social-emotional progress, and providing personal and academic guidance every step of the way. 

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