The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging on several fronts for so many families. Even as we have successfully returned to school at Kirby Hall, nothing is exactly the same as before.
Furthermore, racial injustices recently witnessed throughout the country, as well as the ongoing heated political climate, have likely been sources of stress for families too.
While students may not recall all they learned during the spring semester when school was abruptly forced to close, or even this fall in adjusting to the new normal, they will not soon forget how they felt throughout this unique period in time.
Now more than ever, it is important for schools to include Social and Emotional Learning in classroom curriculums in addition to traditional academics.
What is Social and Emotional Learning, or SEL?
SEL is defined as the process through which children understand and manage emotions, show empathy for others, maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions (Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning).
At Kirby Hall, we are committed to our advanced coursework, as well as to teaching SEL and fostering helpful ways in which students can get reacquainted with school and friends, while also becoming comfortable and knowledgeable in discussing today’s current events.
Here are ways in which we are accomplishing this:
- Incorporating plenty of time for outside and imaginative play
- Naming big emotions and discussing tools students can use to help when they experience those strong emotions
- Scheduling specials as often as possible, such as art and drama, as creative outlets
- Using explicit modeling to ensure expectations and procedures are clear and easy for students to meet
- Creating promises together as a class to provide a sense of security and belonging
- Continuing to highlight works from diverse authors and artists in class while commemorating important cultural events, including National Hispanic Heritage Month in early October
- Celebrating the many ways teachers and students can still work together and collaborate even with social distancing
- Enjoying regular long standing Kirby Hall traditions, like the annual Halloween party, with a few updated twists to make them safe in our present socially-distanced environment
We truly believe that helping students develop important social and emotional skills and ways to express themselves, and effectively support others, in our ever-changing world will benefit them well beyond their years with us.
Kirby Hall School is a private college-preparatory school located in Austin, Texas offering a challenging, and inclusive, curriculum in a loving, nurturing environment for students in Pre-K4 through 12th grade. To learn more about Kirby Hall, please visit us here.