Social-Emotional Learning

What is social-emotional learning?  

Social-emotional learning is the process of learning and using the skills and mindsets needed to develop healthy minds, bodies, and identities, to identify and manage emotions, to show empathy and establish and maintain healthy relationships, to make responsible decisions, and to set realistic goals and achieve them. Social-emotional learning is built on the core areas of self-awareness and self-management, social awareness and relationship skills, and responsible decision making. These core competencies are necessary for all children and adults to be healthy and successful in school and careers.

Where is the impact?

Transformation in Practice

The impact of social-emotional learning (SEL) extends well beyond the classroom. By engaging with SEL tools and practices, students learn how their emotions can affect their behavior and acquire the skills to make responsible decisions and maintain healthy relationships.

MV Case Study

The Best Parts of Me

Second-grade students explored the question, how might we have healthy minds and bodies during an inquiry based learning (IBL) project called Healthy Me. Throughout this project, they focused on having healthy minds and bodies, taking care of their mental health, and how they can incorporate daily movement into their routines.

During the unit, students participated in identity work, celebrating “the best parts of me.” They learned that healthy choices, movement, and exercise can look different for everyone. When diving deeper into having a healthy body, they even discovered more about their muscles, skeleton, organs, and body systems.

When focusing on mental health, they thought deeply about emotions, and explored how they can name and manage emotions to help keep their bodies and minds calm. Led by Grade 2 Learning Coach and Health Expert Sarah Bristow, the students learned more about their five senses, participated in guided meditation, and learned how important sleep is to their bodies.

Sarah shared of the project, “Starting the school year with the Healthy Me IBL Unit in Second Grade has truly set the tone for the year. These young learners are so engaged with taking care of themselves and feel empowered to make healthy decisions that work for them. Learning that health is more than just the fruits and vegetables on your plate is an important way to set the children up for success.”
The culminating activity in their IBL was creating a Healthy Mind Platter. Each area on a Healthy Mind Platter shows a daily essential activity needed for optimal health – sleep time, physical time, focus time, time-in, downtime, playtime, and connecting time. The Grade 2 students in Ms. Goodell’s class were finishing up their platters when Kristy Lundstrom, Head of School, came to visit their class.

What these young Mustangs didn’t know was that when she first came to Mount Vernon, Kristy incorporated a monthly Coffee with Kristy initiative, where Upper School parents were invited to come meet her, ask their questions, and talk together for 30 minutes.

At one of the first Coffee with Kristys this year, she introduced a Healthy Mind Platter to the parents in attendance. Together, they talked about discovering, documenting, and demonstrating an understanding of time and what “balance” can look like. They wondered together how they might incorporate a Healthy Mind Platter into their family routines at home.

Learning that she had incorporated this same idea and learning with parents of our oldest Mustangs showed the Grade 2 students the importance of what they were learning, that these were skills they would be able to take with them to be well in the years to come.

A Recent Case Study

Arts Schools Network

Matt Neylon, Chief Talent & Experience Officer, and a team of MV Experts recently facilitated a workshop for the Arts Schools Network about mindfulness. During this workshop, MVV consultants lead participants through a series of mindfulness experiences focusing on mind-body connection which incorporated exercise, yoga, and the arts. They also focused on specific strategies for developing emotional intelligence and building a support system in order to improve overall well-being.

How do I get started?

Excited? Curious? Overwhelmed? Check out these step-by-step resources to guide you along your Social-Emotional Learning journey.


Want more information on competency-based learning?  Let us know where you are on your journey.  Transformation needs a guide.  We can help. 

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