Lower School Students Explore Social-Emotional Skills Each Week

Pardes embraces the idea that social and emotional skills are essential to a comprehensive 21st century education. To that end, we’ve formalized our Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) this year by adding regular classes with School Counselor Jodi Woodnick. 

Each SEL class starts with a Fist of 5, where students take a moment to think about their mood, and then hold up a hand showing their number, one through five. One is a rotten, crummy, terrible mood, five is the best day of your life, or any number in between. Students then have the opportunity to describe their mood and why. 

Lessons then continue with a mindfulness practice. The practice of mindfulness aims to strengthen emotional regulation and focus. The students practice various techniques to help get “back to center.” By practicing while calm, one can more easily access the techniques when really needed… during times of stress or when feeling out of control. At this point, Mrs. Woodnick and the class are ready to delve into that lesson’s topic, complete with engaging activities tailored to meet the students’ developmental needs. Since September, they have practiced feelings recognition and expression, coping skills, identity development, teamwork, communication, social problem-solving and more.

To conclude each lesson, each student creates an entry in their SEL Journal. They spend time reflecting on their experience that day, and any insights they’ve gathered.