Students explore vital skills beyond the classroom through SEL programming

An integral part of a child’s education and development is the ability to connect to their emotions and develop appropriate social skills. That’s why we host programming for our students as part of the Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) initiative. Through weekly learning sessions and discussions, our students build knowledge and skills to help them succeed in and beyond the classroom. Danit Tayri, the director of counseling at Cherry Lane, shared an update on what our elementary school students are exploring this year with these initiatives.

Grades One Through Three

Through Ohel’s Inner Space: My Resilience Workbook, students in grades one through three are learning to identify their strengths and emotions — growing their overall resilience for the future. The workbook uses a fun space travel theme to illustrate the journey children must take to achieve this resilience. The co-author of the workbook’s teacher edition, Dr. Carly Namdar, has trained NSHA faculty members to utilize the program effectively.

Throughout the curriculum, students learn to acknowledge and validate positive and negative emotions, and attend to these emotions mindfully and without judgment. They are encouraged to use their emotions as a source of information that can help them process and understand experiences – developing their emotional compass and identifying appropriate coping tools to prepare them for the future.

Additionally, students are learning about interoception, a sense that empowers them to better understand their physical responses to emotions, nurturing a sense of balance and a feeling of self-efficacy. These skills will give our students the power to overcome challenges and create a strong foundation for healthy social and emotional growth for the rest of their lives.

Grades Four and Five

For our fourth and fifth graders, we’ve introduced weekly lessons and discussions through the Second Step program. This interactive, research-based curriculum provides tools and skills to help students navigate day-to-day challenges beyond the classroom, like emotion management, problem-solving skills, and strengthening empathy.

Fourth graders are exploring how to take responsibility, manage strong feelings, give compliments, and participate in conversations, while the fifth graders are focusing on developing social skills, understanding how to self-regulate, and managing peer pressure. These discussions will better equip our students to handle all types of situations, from having a disagreement with a friend to experiencing test anxiety.

Additionally, Tayri hosts a special weekly empowerment lunch meeting with our fifth grade girls. Through discussions and role play, our girls tackle topics such as building self-esteem and healthy relationships, exploring individual strengths, and improving social skills. “It has been wonderful to watch the girls feel comfortable expressing themselves in a safe and supportive environment,” Tayri said.

We look forward to these fantastic programs and the continued conversations, laughter, and success. And, of course, we encourage you to bring these discussions beyond the classroom and into your own homes, too!