Tuesday, April 2, 2019

SEL Wrap-Up

We are so excited to be finishing up our first official year implementing the new Social Emotional Learning Curriculum! Kindergarten, First, and Second graders have been learning how to be social thinkers by regulating their emotions, problem-solving, using positive self-talk, and being kind to one another.

We encourage you to continue talking with your children about these skills. Below are some links to videos that they may be familiar with that you can use at home to help reinforce the SEL lessons from this school year.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019


8 Reasons For Teaching Kindness In School
(excerpt from teachthought.com)

Happy Children

Science explains that the good feelings we experience when being kind are produced by endorphins that activate areas of the brain that are associated with pleasure, social connection and trust, and it’s proven that these feelings of joyfulness are contagious, encouraging more kind behaviour by the giver and recipient.
Increased Peer Acceptance  
Research on the subject has determined that kindness increases our ability to form meaningful connections with others. Studies show that kind, happy children enjoy greater peer acceptance because they are well-liked and that better than average mental health is reported in classrooms that practice more inclusive behaviour due to an even distribution of popularity.
Improved Health and Less Stress  
It’s widely documented that being kind can trigger a release of the hormone oxytocin which has a number of physical and mental health benefits as it can significantly increase a person’s level of happiness and reduce stress. More recently though, it’s been found it plays a significant role in the cardiovascular system, helping protect the heart by lowering blood pressure and reducing free radicals and inflammation, which incidentally speed up the aging process.
Greater Sense of Belonging and Improved Self Esteem
Studies show that people experience a ‘helpers high’ when they do a good deed, a rush of endorphins that creates a lasting sense of pride, well-being and an enriched sense of belonging. Even small acts of kindness are reported to heighten our sense of well-being, increase energy and give a wonderful feeling of optimism and self worth.
Increased Feelings of Gratitude
When children are part of projects that help others less fortunate than themselves, it provides them with a real sense of perspective and helps them appreciate the good things in their own lives
Better Concentration and Improved Results
As it increases serotonin, which plays an important part in learning, memory, mood, sleep, health and digestion, kindness is a key ingredient that helps children feel good. Having a positive outlook allows them greater attentions spans and enables more creative thinking to produce better results at school.
Less Bullying
Many traditional anti-bullying programs focus on the negative actions that cause children anxiety and often with little impact. Teaching kindness and compassion in schools, not only fosters the positive behaviour that creates warm and inclusive school environments, but helps children feel that they belong. It’s documented that the effects of bullying can be significantly reduced by integrating kindness based programs in schools.
Reduced Depression
Dr. Wayne Dyer, internationally renowned author and speaker, says research has discovered that an act of kindness increases levels of serotonin (a natural chemical responsible for improving mood) in the brain. It’s also found that serotonin levels are increased in both the giver and receiver of an act of kindness, as well as anyone who witnesses that kindness, making it a wonderful natural antidepressant.

Hop on over to your local library and check out these books about KINDNESS!!
Ps- they’re kid approved!

Video Links About KINDNESS

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

SEL Kindergarten

Social Emotional Learning in Kindergarten looks a bit different than it does for our first and second graders. In kindergarten, we use a curriculum called Second Step. It's a research-based program that promotes social-emotional development, safety, and well-being in children.

Each week, the school psychologist, social worker, or speech pathologist go into a kindergarten classroom to do a 20-30 minute lesson. We teach students using the Second Step visual cards, puppets, and videos. The curriculum is broken down into four sections; Skills for Listening, Empathy, Emotion Management, and Problem-Solving. We've completed the "Skills for Learning" section that teaches students how to listen, focus attention, and self-talk.

In the upcoming weeks, we will be starting the "Emotion Management" section where students will learn how to recognize strong feelings and use strategies to calm down. Below is a poster we will utilize with the kindergarten students.

For more information about Second Step, you can visit their website at https://www.secondstep.org/

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Books We Love that Support Social Emotional Learning

Books are a great learning tool that you can use at home to improve your child's social skills, like listening, self-regulation, and managing anxiety. Below are a list of books that we love to use to reinforce a variety of social skills.

Soda Pop Head
When I Feel Angry

Blurting Out or Interrupting 
My Mouth is a Volcano
Interrupting Chicken

Growth Mindset
Rosie Revere Engineer
Bubble Gum Brain
The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes

Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Listen

Managing Impulsivity
What If Everybody Did That
What Were You Thinking?

Personal Space
Personal Space Camp

Giraffes Can't Dance
I'm Gonna Like Me

Telling the Truth
Lying up a Storm
Bernstein Bears and The Truth

Wemberly Worried
Wilma Jean the Worry Machine
Worry Says What?

Videos are also a great resource...we'll have a future post with some video links to share!

Friday, October 5, 2018

SEL for 1st and 2nd Graders

Over the past few weeks, Melissa Florio, Liz D’Amato, and Carissa Mierzejewski have been going into kindergarten, first, and second grade classrooms to teach some very important lessons about social thinking. Social Emotional Learning (SEL) teaches students a variety of skills such as listening, regulating emotions, having a growth mindset, problem-solving, and more. 

Do you have a first or second grader at home? Ask them about whole body listening. Kids can show us that they're listening by using their whole body. Their eyes are looking at the speaker, their hands and feet are quiet, and their brains are thinking about what is being said. Listening Larry has taught them that!

Your children are also learning how to be excellent problem-solvers at EW. Problem-solving can be hard, but not if you remember to STEP!
S - say the problem without blame
T - think of some possible solutions
E - explore consequences
P - pick the best solution

We hope some of this information is useful for you to use at home with your children. Check back soon for more SEL updates and other important information!

Friday, September 7, 2018

New Member to the Team!

We are happy to share that we have a new member on the EW Special Education Team. Elisabeth D'Amato is our school psychologist! We are so excited to have her as part of our team and she will be helping us write some blog posts this year. 

Just a reminder for those who may not know, the special education team consists of...

Deborah Byrne, Special Education Teacher for grades 4-6
Rita Heinze, Special Education Teacher for grades K-4
Melissa Florio, Speech and Language Pathologist
Carissa Mierzejewski, School Social Worker
Liz D'Amato, School Psychologist

We hope to create some helpful and informative blog posts for you this school year. We are so excited for another school year with your amazing children! Please keep an eye out for more blog posts coming soon!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Summer Send-Off

With only three weeks left of school, we wanted our last blog post of the 2017-18 school year to be about SUMMER! Summer is full of exciting events like BBQs, beach trips, vacations, camp, etc. There is also a great amount of down-time for kids during the summer season, which may actually be a good thing! Below is a link that is all about free play - unstructured time for kids to be creative, discover, and initiate tasks independently. So when you hear your child exclaim that they're bored (because it is bound to happen), embrace it! This time helps kids to grow as learners! 

Free Play Article