Engineering, sustainability, philosophy, drama, civic engagement, service-learning, nature connection, and field trips are just a few elements in our curriculum that we find incredibly enriching and set us apart from other schools in the area. However, what is most foundational to who we are as a school community and where all parts of our curriculum grow from is the social-emotional well being of our students.
There are five recognized competencies for social-emotional learning. They are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision-making. Each of these competencies begins in the
Primary classroom and are nurtured through Middle School.
What does this look like in our classrooms?
-Each day begins outside, connecting with peers. After this time of connection -and movement, their bodies and minds are ready to start the day.
-In each class, there is a specific time where we cultivate mindfulness through various practices that teach body awareness, emotional awareness, and awareness of the world around us. Mindfulness practices are also used —throughout the day to help students recenter.
-Each class has a morning work cycle. During this time, students are responsible for managing their time and projects to be completed. In addition, students have choices in what they are working on. Work cycle time is an incredible opportunity for students to develop the skills of self-management and responsible decision making.
-Conflict resolution happens at all class levels and in different ways, but what is fundamental is how we communicate our feelings as well as how to listen.
-We have also developed a culture of kindness - an expectation of how we live and function together in the community.
These are just a few examples of what social emotional learning looks like in our classroom. Individuals visiting DGS for the first time comment on how peaceful and inspiring our school feels. That feeling is what we continue to cultivate through social emotional learning and is foundational to who we are.