We believe that in order to have an effective SEL program, we must begin teaching social and emotional skills in first grade and continue teaching them through high school. We strive to develop these five core SEL skills in students:
Identifying and understanding what we are feeling in the moment is perhaps the most difficult to master of all SEL skills. At St. Andrew's, we teach our children vocabulary to help them name their feelings and understand the reasons and circumstances that cause them.
The ability of a person to identify and understand what others are feeling is equally as important as learning to understand one's own feelings. The key to emotional literacy is being able to recognize and deal with your own feelings, as well as with the feelings of another person, while being able to differentiate between the two.
The self-management skills teaches children to handle their emotions in a way that facilitates, rather than interferes with, the task at hand; to delay gratification in order to pursue long-term goals; and to persevere in the face of setbacks and frustrations.
Handling emotions effectively is key to perhaps the most rewarding dimension of life - being part of healthy, rewarding relationships. Any good relationship, regardless of its nature - classmates, friends, teacher-classmate, employer-employee, or spousal - is dependent on a number of skills. These include mutual respect, cooperation, resistance to inappropriate social pressures, conflict negotiation, and the courage and tenacity to be honest.
We can employer our children throughout every phase and aspect of their lives by teaching them in their formative years, step by step, how to make good decisions and how to be accountable for those decisions.
There are many opportunities for parents to become involved in and learn from St. Andrew's. To find events for the current school year, check the school calendar and come join us!
Parents and faculty gather regularly for informal book discussions. In the past, we have focused on:
Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman
Blessing of the Skinned Knee, by Wendy Mogel
Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children, by Michael Thompson
Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and other Realities of Adolescence, by Rosalind Wiseman
The Optimistic Child: Proven Program to Safeguard Children from Depression and Build Lifelong Resistance by Martin Seligman, Ph.D.
BROWN BAG LUNCHES
Parents bring a sack lunch and meet at 12:15 to listen to a variety of speakers, including teacher panels and parent experts, on subjects such as nutrition, the discipline system, how much pressure to put on your children, the SAS math program, and the SEL initiative.
Look for our list of 2011-2012 Brown Bags coming soon!
DIVISION HEAD GATHERINGS
St. Andrew's Division Heads host parents several times during the school year at teas, where matters particular to the division are discussed and parents are given the opportunity to ask questions and express concerns.
PARENT PEER GROUPS
Parents meet to share ideas and support around issues relating to parental challenges. Topics covered in past meetings have included friendship, responsibility, time management, Internet use, navigating peer relationships, civility among middle school children, and transition. Meetings are generally held 4 times a year - twice each semester.
St. Andrew's Speakers' Series has featured such notables as Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Laura Sessions Stepp, author of Our Last, Best Shot: Guiding our Children through Early Adolescence; Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes, Edward M. Hallowell, author of The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness: Five Steps to Help Kids Create and Sustain Lifelong Joy; Michael Thompson, author of Raising Cain and Best Friends, Worse Enemies, Mel Levine, author of A Mind at a Time; and other authors, including Jane Healey, Madeline Swift, and Adele Faber.