At Assumption-St. Bridget School, we believe in the importance of developing not only knowledgeable individuals, but mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially healthy individuals. Facilitating student mental health, emotional well-being, and positive and healthy relationships helps us fulfill our calling as Catholic educators entrusted with the care and education of God’s children. The most widely-used strategy for imparting these skills upon students is known as Social/Emotional Learning (SEL). The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) defines SEL as “the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.” The benefits of SEL have been studied extensively, and research has identified many positive outcomes associated with the implementation of school-wide SEL.
In addition to the importance of SEL, research has increasingly suggested that executive functioning skills are also necessary in the development of competent, confident, and successful individuals. These skills not only affect academic learning, but also the ability to learn and develop in the areas of social and emotional competency. Combining the expertise from the fields of executive functioning and social/emotional learning, Assumption-St. Bridget launched a Self-Regulation Program for the 2016-2017 academic year. This program’s goal was to bring to students the instruction, discussions, and activities needed to infuse their educations with the tenets of SEL and best practices in executive functioning instruction.
Our Self-Regulation program is designed to provide each student in the building with one age- and developmentally-appropriate lesson each week of the academic year. Lessons are organized around 10 different themes per academic year, one theme being the focus of each month, September-June. The themes are specific lessons are selected by the Student Success Team, with the support of input from parents, teachers, staff, and students. In this way, the Self-Regulation is responsive and preventative, supporting the very best in our community each year. Some monthly themes that the program has brought to students includes:
- All Are Welcome: Developing an Inclusive and Welcoming School Community
- Bullying Prevention Month: Becoming an Instrument for Positive Change
- Stress Reduction and Mindfulness: Enjoying the Holiday Season
- Understanding Our Own Lens: The Importance of Understanding Perception
- Learning Strategies: Becoming a Successful Student
- Optimizing our Summer Learning: Taking Advantage of Learning Opportunities
- School-Wide Learning Expectations (SLEs): Becoming a Successful and Faithful Student
- Developing Diversity Competency: Valuing and Appreciating Diversity in our Community
When our entire community is reminded weekly about our values as a Catholic community, our hopes for their mental health and well-being, our goals for their current and future relationships, and the skills that lead to success, we create a strong, resilient, capable, and innovative group of students that are prepared to select fulfilling goals for themselves, and have the skills and knowledge to achieve those goals.
For more information on Social/Emotional Learning (SEL), including best practices and research-based outcomes, please visit the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). For more information on Executive Fuctioning, please visit Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child.
For more information on our approach to self-regulation for all of our students, please contact the Assumption-St. Bridget School Counselor and Psychologist, Jennifer Riggle, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Assumption-St. Bridget School Principal, Kathleen Conklin, at email@example.com.