Social Emotional Learning
We care about the people our students will become.
From pre-kindergarten to eighth grade, Episcopal Day’s core values - moral courage, service, respect, and compassion - are woven into the fabric of our program. We are committed to the social and emotional health and well-being of each of our students.
Episcopal Day is a Responsive Classroom school. This philosophy permeates all classrooms from the way students greet one another each morning, to the positive language used by teachers within the classrooms. ‘Developmental Designs’ is the term used to describe the Responsive Classroom approach in middle school.
Fly Five Lessons
Social and emotional competencies, known as the Fly Five, are an integral part of our program. Fly Five is a social and emotional learning curriculum developed on the core belief that, in order for students to be academically, socially, and behaviorally successful in, out of, and beyond school, they need to learn a set of social and emotional competencies, namely cooperation, assertiveness, responsibility, empathy, and self-control (C.A.R.E.S.). The Fly Five lessons are intentionally designed to be easy to follow and implement so that teachers can place their attention on the important work of noticing a student’s academic, social, and emotional growth and progress and creating conditions for that progress to continue.
Our School Families is a widely loved program within our community. As each student comes into the fold at Episcopal Day, they are welcomed into a cross-grade level school family (kindergarten to eighth grade). The families meet regularly during the school year and activities range from a simple lunch in the courtyard to working together on community service projects. Two 'school parents' (faculty and staff) are also part of each family. Making these connections helps the younger family members feel more comfortable on campus and gives the more senior family members a chance to be mentors. The students light up as they bump into a familiar face during the day. They also take delight in fun traditions like sending care packages to family members who have left the nest to begin their high school adventures.
Pre-kindergarten is a time when students learn the importance of developing and nurturing positive relationships with peers and their teachers. This is further enhanced through cooperative play, and helping and caring for others through our service learning program and the use of the Responsive Classroom approach.
Teachers model positive communication and help students develop the tools to promote self-control and the expression of ideas and thoughts. In their play and learning, students practice problem-solving and are encouraged to take responsible risks. They begin to step out of their comfort zone, knowing they are in a safe place to express their feelings and needs.
Lower school (kindergarten to Grade 4) teachers place social development at the heart of their program, where the emphasis is on the whole child. The primary goal is to nurture and sustain the natural curiosity of children and meet the evolving needs of our students.
In the elementary years, the students begin to see themselves as part of a larger social group and learn how to be good friends and supportive classmates. They feel known and respected and this supports their development as engaged, kind, and compassionate members of their class and our community.
The middle school years (grades 5 to 8) are a time of transformational growth — physically, intellectually, and socially. Our students handle these transitions exceptionally well, supported by understanding teachers and classmates. Throughout middle school, students are creating a sense of self and an identity, both within a broader community and as an individual.
We support students in developing empathy, perspective, confidence, healthy self-esteem, and communication skills to support a healthy development of the self throughout this pivotal time of growth in their lives. These are ways in which we support our students:
Modeling Respect and Confidence For Meaningful Engagement
Middle school teachers encourage students to advocate for themselves and share thoughts, ideas, and opinions in class that may go against the mainstream. Voicing one’s ideas respectfully in a class discussion or one-on-one with a teacher are just a few ways in which students develop confidence.
The middle school Advisory Program allows students a safe place to have more personal connections with smaller groups of classmates and a dedicated faculty member during the course of each school year. The advisory curriculum includes age appropriate topics such as budgeting time, cyber safety, handling stress, and peer conflict resolution.
Sixth through eighth grade students attend annual retreats with both a spiritual and social-emotional focus. Some highlights include the seventh grade retreat in Healdsburg and the three-day, eighth grade retreat in Sonoma County that includes a high ropes course in the redwoods. The retreats are powerful bonding experiences that unite the class and pave the way for students to be positive leaders of the school. The important lessons learned on the retreats are reinforced daily in Chapel, the classroom, and weekly advisory sessions.
We have embraced and utilized a restorative justice approach to conflict resolution regarding student behavior. Restorative justice builds social capital within a community, repairing harm when a relationship has been damaged, and moving towards resolution in a community that accepts and embraces individuals and mistakes.