Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in EWSD
Social and emotional learning, often called SEL, is a focus in Essex Westford schools as we work to connect our vision statement to our committment to equity. Our vision: Growing hearts and minds, for a better today and tomorrow: every day, every way, every one.
Learn more about this initiative on the district website's Social and Emotional Learning pages (opens in a new browser window) and at the links below. The same information is available in a brochure at your school building.
8 Ways to Reinforce Social & Emotional Learning at Home
Adults at home play an important role in shaping the emotional life of our students. Think of yourself as “emotion coaches" for the children in your home.
Here are eight easy things that can help children benefit from the work we do at school.
1. Focus on the value of learning.
Take time each day to ask what your student learned in school. Remember learning is for life, not just school - talk about what you yourself may have learned that day.
2. Focus on strengths.
Praise specific strengths, and talk about what your student did well before talking about what can be improved.
3. Respond to misbehavior.
Follow up with consequences for misbehavior that teach responsibility and accountability, and encourage your child to look inward to learn how they can do things differently in the future.
4. Manage your own feelings.
Find ways to stay calm when angry to teach your child how to stay calm when they feel hard feelings.
5. Be willing to apologize.
Apologize if you say something that might have been hurtful to your child, or that you didn’t mean. This can show them how to work through problems with respect for others.
6. Guide them to problem-solve
Ask questions that help children solve problems on their own. Example: “What do you think you can do in this situation?”
7. Encourage sharing and helping.
This teaches children that what they do can make a difference in the lives of other people.
8. Read books and stories together.
Stories can be a way to explore how people deal with issues that are common but hard, like making and losing friends, or handling conflicts.
We invite you to explore the following resources to learn more about SEL:
- Parent Toolkit: Social & Emotional Development - Research shows that those with higher social-emotional skills have better attention skills, fewer learning problems, and are generally more successful in academic and workplace settings. Articles, how-to videos, advice, conversation starters for families, and age-specific guides by Pearson/NBC. (Link opens in a new browser window.)
- An Overview of CASEL (YouTube) - Chicago-based nonprofit organization the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) developed the framework we are using in EWSD.
- CASEL Guide for Homes and Communities - Social and emotional learning starts at home, according to CASEL. Parents and families are critical partners in helping their children develop social and emotional know-how. This guide offers videos on SEL specifically for parents/guardians, as well as interactive school guides, and more.
SEL in EWSD
- Presentation: Social and Emotional Learning in EWSD - August 20, 2019. (opens in a new browser window.) Explains more on the reasoning and research behind EWSD's move to focus on social and emotional competencies in our schools.
- CASEL on the long-term impact and benefits of SEL