Student Life

Social Emotional Learning

Social-Emotional Learning: Responsive Classroom, Developmental Designs, & Social Thinking

Elementary Program

Social-Emotional Learning: Responsive Classroom and Social Thinking
In an effort to align social learning approaches and instruction, WNS embarked on the adoption of the Responsive Classroom approach to social-emotional teaching and learning for our elementary grades. The approach has a number of facets that support students in the development of social skills and conflict resolution. There is increasing evidence of improved academic performance in schools where RC is implemented effectively and consistently.

Several aspects of the program are key. First, the daily Morning Meeting begins the day for each class. The meeting ensures that all students are greeted by name, that a sharing activity helps them get to know one another, and that a game helps them have fun together at the beginning of their school day. The RC approach also has clear methods on setting goals, or “hopes and dreams,” for the year and for establishing and observing classroom rules that help students achieve those goals.Our faculty is also trained to understand the cognitive building blocks of social learning and differentiate social learning to support each child’s growth in this area.

 There is increasing evidence of improved academic performance in schools where RC is implemented effectively and consistently.

Middle School Program

Developmental Designs, an approach to social learning geared toward the middle school student, is the foundation for social learning in the middle school and is consistent with Responsive Classroom, which is used in the elementary school.  Advisory is held three days a week, which includes time for students to be welcomed to school, a time to share, a game or playful activity, and news or announcements. Students set goals and create a middle school-wide Social Contract of rules to help them create a school environment that helps them achieve their goals. All faculty members in the middle school are required to be trained in Developmental Designs.
WNS also supports social-emotional learning and the transition to middle school and adolescence through a variety of programs:

  • Family Groups/Buddy Programs and Electives Classes - These opportunities support leadership development, communication skills, and enhance mentoring capabilities.
  • 6th Grade Middle School Transition Course - supports students in their first year of middle school and teaches skills and awareness in brain development, nutrition, stress management, and study skills.
  • Drug and Alcohol Prevention - This two-year program is geared to our seventh and eighth grade students. It also includes a parent education component.
  • Human Health and Sexuality - This program takes place in two grade levels. It is first introduced in fifth grade and complemented by a seventh grade unit of study.
  • Self-Defense and Assertiveness Training - This workshop is provided to all eighth grade students in girls' and boys' classes