This year, the SEL team at WSD will be structuring our delivery of SEL using a “word of the month” system. This is not meant to replace our existing SEL curriculum, but instead, will provide school-wide themes to enhance what we are already doing to support our children's social and emotional development. See the SEL WORD OF THE MONTHs below.
In order for our SEL program to be truly successful, we need the participation and involvement of our parent community. Consistency is key when it comes to building these skills, according to developmental psychologist Stephanie Jones of the EASEL Lab at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. When schools and families have shared behavioral expectations and a common language for social and emotional skills, it can be “easier for kids to transition smoothly and be successful across multiple settings with many different adults,” she says.
As we head into summer and close on a wonderful school year, it's a great time to focus on improving ourselves through self-discipline–our May WOM! Self-discipline is defined as the ability to control one's feelings and overcome one's weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it. What could be more SEL than that? Let's all finish strong and have fabulous summers as well! Here's some helpful articles on self-discipline to educate and inspire:
In April, the SEL team and your child's teachers will be focusing on citizenship. While patriotism is part of it, we will mostly be talking about the importance of thinking of others, helping others, respecting each other, and working together to make our communities stronger. That's what social-emotional learning is all about. Here's some related links:
This article mentions honesty, compassion, responsibility, courage and respect in terms of citizenship. It's written for teachers. But parents are teachers: Teaching Good Citizenship's Five Themes
March's SEL word is perseverance–another quality we would all like our children to embody. Perseverance is defined as persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. Much of today's world is about instant gratification. If we want our children to develop perseverance and tenacity, we must allow some struggle and time and let life teach its lessons. This can be challenging given our role as nurturers. Here's some tips to help you find balance and allow your child to develop the persistence and tenacity that will ultimately lead to success:
The SEL team has chosen trust as our WOM for February–consciously following January’s honesty in an effort to help create a culture of integrity in our community. Children and teachers will be talking about what makes a person trustworthy and how one can earn someone's trust. Trust is integral to any relationship and certainly important between parents and children. Here are some helpful resources to guide you in conversations with your child around the topic of trust.
January is a time to turn a new leaf and look within for many–a great time to be honest with yourself and with others. The SEL team has chosen honesty as the word of the month. We all want our children to be honest. Just like anything in parenting, it starts with us–modeling and teaching the values we want our children to possess. Here's some helpful resources to that end...
This time of year is all about a spirit of giving. While SEL has very much to do with knowing yourself, it is also about understanding and caring for others. For these reasons and more, the SEL team has decided to choose compassion as our word of the month this December. As you know, much of parenting has to do with compassion and empathy. Here are some resources to help you model and teach compassion to your children:
This short video explains why it’s so important to teach compassion and the article gives specific tips for each age group: Can you teach compassion?
This month many of us will celebrate Thanksgiving. It will give us an opportunity to reflect on life's blessings and offer thanks. The SEL team plans to stretch it out all month by making gratitude our SEL word for November! The benefits of feeling and expressing gratitude are many and we are learning more and more about how gratitude can improve our lives (read more here!). Here's more links to help you incorporate gratitude into your family's culture as well as a great gratitude mindfulness video you can watch with your children:
Based on scientific literature and conversations with parents, this organization has come to think about gratitude as an experience that has four parts. Learn how to teach them here: What Parents Neglect to Teach about Gratitude
Pain nourishes courage. You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.
– Mary Tyler Moore
The SEL word of the month for October is courage. Almost everything we talk about regarding SEL comes down to courage. It takes courage to be inclusive. It takes courage to apologize. It takes courage to stand up to a bully. It takes courage to start a new behavior that you know makes you a better self. It takes courage to stop a gossiping conversation. All of this and more–it will take courage from us to model for our children.
How can parents help children to show courage and talk about courage in everyday life? This link has helpful tips! Kids and Courage
Courage means being afraid and doing the right thing anyway. More helpful tips here on instilling moral courage in our children... Aha!Parenting
To that end, we will help keep you up to speed and informed through our various electronic communications and even tie the themes into parenting as much as we can. This is a team effort! Without further adieu, in honor of the incomparable Aretha Franklin, the SEL word of the month of September is RESPECT.
Children learn through modeling behavior. If we want them to be respectful to us and to others, we need to treat them with respect as well. Like this article states, "Respect begins at home." Ten Ways to Respect Your Children
Keeping with the modeling theme, the language we use is key to creating a culture of respect in our homes and in our community. This article–while written for parents of teens–has great tips for parents who want to speak respectful words to their children. The Language of Respect