Social Emotional Learning in School

We are proud of our strong academic instruction at BYDS and our commitment to raising our students to be “mensches”. Going on my 6th year as the school counselor for BYDS, I watch our babies grow into young children and then into teenagers. My role is to provide our students with a toolkit to promote self-care and social and emotional well-being. As adults, we often forget that we weren’t born with these skills; we had to learn them over time. Our children need to learn them too: embracing their mistakes in a safe place, navigating social connections with guidance, and developing the confidence to be upstanders.

Our emphasis on student wellness stems from our belief that education should nurture and empower the whole person. As a member of the Student Achievement Team, I lead frequent guidance lessons for Pre-K through 5th that focus on the BYDS Life Skills (respect, responsibility, integrity, cooperation, and gratitude). This support allows children to develop a positive sense of self and become effective students, responsible citizens, and lifelong learners. Our 5 Life Skills also have a common thread – Kindness.

People who are kind and compassionate are usually the most successful. Studies consistently show that we feel happier when we perform acts of kindness – for our children, students, families, friends, and communities. Not only do good deeds make us feel better, they provide a more successful lifestyle.

-David Brooks, New York Times Nice Guys Finish First

Our small school environment allows me to focus on each child and family. These relationships are necessary for me to provide guidance and support through major events in our students’ lives as well as everyday challenges that come with growing up and learning how to be a student and friend. Most students face a number of stressors and challenges on any given day. Rather than ignore them (or pretend like they don’t matter), BYDS supports students in big and small ways as they navigate life’s twists and turns. On any given day, we work on skills such as conflict resolution, problem-solving, assertiveness, and empathy.

I believe that all children can be taught appropriate behaviors and can learn and grow to reach their full potential, if given the right environment. I am a resource and an advocate for all students, staff, parents and the community. If you ever need anything or have any questions, I am always here for our students and families. My email is anewman@byds.org.

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