Social Emotional Learning and Character Education Middlefork School
Social Emotional Learning (SEL) refers to a comprehensive process for helping students to develop the fundamental skills for life effectiveness. These skills include recognizing and managing one's own emotions, developing empathy and caring for others, establishing and maintaining positive relationships, making responsible decisions, and navigating challenging situations in a constructive and ethical manner. Character education, the developmental of ethical virtues, is a critical component of SEL.
SEL Skill Sets
*Self-awareness: accurately assessing one's feelings,interests, values, and strengths; maintaining a well-grounded sense of self-confidence
* Self-management: regulating one's emotions to handle stress, control impulses, and persevere in overcoming obstacles; setting and monitoring progress toward personal and academic goals; expressing emotions appropriately
* Social awareness: being able to take the perspective of and empathize with others; recognizing and appreciating individual and group similarities and differences; recognizing and using family, school, and community resources
* Relationship skills: establishing and maintaining healthy and rewarding relationships based on cooperation; resisting in appropriate social pressure; preventing, managing, and resolving interpersonal conflict;seeking help when needed
* Responsible decision-making: making decisions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, appropriate social norms,respect for others, and likely consequences of various actions; applying decision-making skills to academic and social situations; contributing to the well-being of one’s school and community.
Why teach SEL skills?The Illinois State Board of Education mandates that all Illinois public school systems implement a comprehensive SEL curriculum targeting the development of students' self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship, and decision-making skills. Furthermore, research supports a strong positive relationship between effective SEL instruction and a number of positive outcomes (e.g., increased academic achievement, positive school climate, lower drug and alcohol usage, lower discipline issues).
The literature on SEL suggests that SEL in the schools is most effectively addressed through a) the development of a positive and support school climate/culture, b) the use of an effective direct instructional curriculum and, c) opportunities for students to practice SEL-related skills and behaviors in a meaningful way.
For more information on the benefits and research behind SEL, please visit the CASEL website @ www.casel.org.
How does District 29 address SEL ?District 29 staff address SEL through a continuous focus on a) promoting a positive school climate and culture, b) implementing a variety of direct instruction curricula to target SEL skills in a developmentally appropriate manner and, c) engaging students in meaningful opportunities to practice SEL skills.
District 29 staff work hard to develop strong personal relationships with students, to engage them in the culture of the school community, and to support and encourage them as they develop their academic, social, behavioral, kinesthetic, and artistic talents. Staff also provide a variety regularly scheduled SEL direct instruction lessons across the grade levels targeting the development of specific SEL skills. Finally, District 29 offer students opportunities to engage in meaningful SEL-related activities through projects, classes, and activities.
See below for more information on SEL activities at a specific grade level, or contact one of our SEL instructors:
Susan George (kindergarten/1st)
Laurie Barry (2nd/3rd)
Dorothy Bailen (2nd/3rd)
SEL in Kindergarten
The Middlefork kindergarten program provides a positive and caring environment in which students can develop and strengthen their social and emotional skills on a daily basis. This is accomplished through developmentally appropriate lessons and activities, self-directed experimentation, and play. Additionally, character education lessons are taught every other week in each kindergarten class. Warm fuzzies are introduced at the beginning of the year. This is an activity in which students take turns giving a compliment to another student in the circle. Every character education lesson from kindergarten through third grade begins with warm fuzzies. Needless to say, by the time they reach third grade, students have become quite adept at giving and receiving sincere compliments!
The character education curriculum in kindergarten emphasizes identifying and managing emotions, working cooperatively, joining in play,helping others, listening, taking turns and sharing, respecting differences,self-respect, and making positive decisions. Lessons typically consist of a story, a teacher-led discussion, and a related activity.