Social and Emotional Learning

By Cynthia Thomas, School Counselor

As parents, you worry about the risks your children face and choices they will have to make. But if you have a strong relationship with your children that is built on a foundation of trust and open communication, they are more likely to tell you about their problems and gain from your advice.

If your children have confidence in themselves, they are prepared to handle situations assertively. Children who have self-management, relationship building, and problem solving skills make safe and healthy choices. As a parent, you can help strengthen these areas of your children’s lives by:

  • Helping them discover their interests and passions and encourage them to pursue their interests by providing opportunities and support
  • Taking time to have extended conversations. As often as possible, have family dinners where you can share news, discuss problems, and make plans. Research shows that children who have dinner with their families several times a week are less likely to smoke or use illegal drugs.
  • Talking about your family’s culture. This helps children feel connected to their ethnic background and their culture’s values and beliefs. Research shows that positive cultural identification can improve a child’s self esteem and protect against emotional problems.
  • Modeling and teaching social and emotional skills—skills that people use to deal with feelings and dilemmas—including empathy (knowing one’s own feelings and recognizing other’s feelings); emotional management (managing strong feelings such as anxiety, frustration, and anger before they become overwhelming); and problem solving, decision making, and conflict resolution.

By listening to your children and respecting their feelings, you model and teach empathy. By giving children choices, they have opportunities to practice decision making. By talking through plans and concerns at dinner, you model problem solving.

As a parent, you have the power to influence, model, listen, and connect. By using your power in positive and thoughtful ways, you can provide a measure of protection for your children.

The goal of the ASPV school counseling program is to provide academic, career and personal/social learning opportunities that value, challenge and prepare each student for responsible participation in our changing world. Students meet with the counselors through teacher, parent, or self-referrals. If you are interested in contacting Mrs. Thomas or Ms. Langley, you can do so by clicking on their name.

About our program

Our Primary guidance program utilizes the Six Pillars of Character Traits as a framework. Each month, one of the character traits is promoted through classroom discussions, literature, and individual student recognition with bracelets at our Monday Morning school-wide meetings. The traits are: Trustworthiness, Fairness, Responsibility, Respect, Caring, and Citizenship.

On the playground, problems between students are resolved by students, using Kelso’s Wheel of Conflict Resolution. When confronted with a small problem, or conflict, students are taught to try 2-3 strategies before requesting adult assistance. All large problems (those involving safety) are taken to an adult immediately. Strategies include: Ignore; Tell Them to Stop; Walk Away; Share and Take Turns; Make a Deal; Go to Another Game; Talk It Out; Apologize; and Wait and Cool Off.

Each primary grade level class receives classroom Instruction utilizing the Second Step program–focusing on Social-Emotional Learning (SEL). It is our belief that students learn academic skills best when they feel safe, supported, and included. In addition, SEL gives students the skills they need with friends, families, community, and the world of work. The curriculum includes: Empathy; Respecting Differences; Anger Management; How to Join and Participate in a Group; Managing Problems

In addition, all students receive extensive training in Bully Prevention: Recognizing, Reporting, and Refusing Bullying; Bystander Power and Responsibility; and, when appropriate, Cyberbullying.

Our Child Protection curriculum teaches: Ways to Stay Safe, Safe and Unsafe Touches, and Practicing Ways to Stay Safe.

Our Middle Grades program focuses on: Empathy and Communication; Bully Prevention; Emotional Management; Problem Solving; Substance Abuse Prevention; and 7th grade study skills.

In the Upper Grades, students receive instruction in career and college guidance (grades 10 and 11) and our Junior Seminar course includes an extensive health curriculum, tailored to meet their age appropriate needs. Topics include: Nutrition, Sleep, Mental Health, Substance Abuse Prevention and Addictions Issues; Exercise, Stress, Cyberbullying and Sexual Harassment, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Family Planning, and Family Issues.

Each year the middle school and high school girls participate in a Girls Night Out, focusing on friendship, and supporting our community of young women. Activities include: dance, self defense, jewelry making, and t-shirt design.