Social Emotional Curriculum
We suspect that our students will face challenges we only dream of in a world we barely glimpse. So that they may stride confidently into this world and delight in it as well as contribute to it, we want them to learn more than facts and processes. We want them to stretch the boundaries of their awareness, strengthen their self-esteem, develop their gifts and talents, and bolster their weaknesses. We want them to appreciate their own resources and respect those of others, to enjoy the company of friends but also to savor the balm of solitude.
To further these goals, we nurture the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual development of the children as well as their intellectual growth. Some researchers now suggest that a child's success strongly relates to their level of character, positivity, self-management, and self-awareness. When classrooms are nurturing, kind, and supportive, students are more likely to take risks, work collaboratively, and explore more freely.
For many years now, WES has invested in Social Emotional Learning (SEL). WES has two counselors, two learning specialists, a virtues curriculum, a formal SEL curriculum for students in Nursery to Grade 5 as well as a formal Middle School Advisory program, and our school implements the Responsive Classroom ® curriculum for classroom management. Throughout the year these programs, curricula, and occasions provide our students the opportunities for conversations and reflection that can lead to a better understanding about themselves and their community.
Middle School Advisory
WES Middle School students are assigned and meet weekly with the same group of Grade 6, 7, and 8 students and a WES faculty member. The faculty member serves as the advisor, and the group members, as a whole, provide each other academic and social-emotional support and mentorship. Faculty advisors casually “checking in” with students as well as initiating activities that foster stronger bonds within the group, develop strong moral character, and implement community outreach. Additionally, the advisor develops a personal and accessible relationship with each student's families. To serve as a liaison, the advisor monitors each student's academic achievement and helps students set reasonable, yet challenging goals.
For students, the Advisory Program gives them:
- A “safe place” to grow socially
- A community of learners
- A place to be known by establishing relationships with peers across the Middle School
Advisory programs offer the structure to meet students' developmental needs because it is a place in school where students are intimately known as a "whole child." These elements of connectedness have the potential to improve academic achievement and the overall school experience for Middle School students.*
*Excerpted from the Association for Middle School Education, "Creating a Culture of Connectedness through Middle School Advisory Programs," by Sarah Brody Shulkind, Jack Foote (https://www.amle.org/BrowsebyTopic/WhatsNew/WNDet/TabId/270/ArtMID/888/ArticleID/279/Culture-of-Connectedness-through-Advisory.aspx)