Social Emotional Learning
In an article by The New York Times, the question was asked, “Can Emotional Intelligence Be Taught?” At Stanley we say yes, it can be taught and we’ve been teaching social and emotional skills since our founding nearly 50 years ago.
In the K-5 grades, students meet weekly with their Social and Emotional teacher to work on key concepts and skills such as learning to stop and consider the feelings of others, learning to think about the consequences of one’s actions, and making positive choices.
Additionally, we provide proactive support for students who need help in specific areas and address these opportunities individually and in small groups that meet over lunch. In the classroom, teachers spend significant time focusing on social and emotional instruction, debriefing with the class after recess, role playing specific social situations that are developmentally appropriate, helping children talk through their feelings, and assisting them with problem solving.
Ultimately, this K-5 curriculum gives them the practical skills to build a strong social and emotional foundation for middle school, allowing them to be even better adjusted for high school and eventually adulthood.
In the 6-7-8 grades, the Social and Emotional curriculum is designed to build self-efficacy through the study of identity development. Our middle school counselor works with small grade level groups, meets with students one-on-one to work through specific issues or opportunities, consults with both teachers and parents, and develops the foundation of the middle school social and emotional curriculum.
In our daily multi-age homeroom meetings, students are taught about specific character traits such as perseverance and integrity and then are challenged to strengthen these behaviors in off-campus team building trips and meaningful service projects. In the weekly grade level classes, students explore different social and emotional challenges to identify how personal values affect decision-making and critical thinking skills.
The middle school also features a 3-year Advisor program where each student is matched to a faculty advisor who provides academic support and acts as a social and emotional mentor throughout the entire middle school experience.
Common Sense Media
Starting in the 2022-23 school year, Stanley has partnered with nationally-renowned technology and media organization, Common Sense Media, to be a Connected School Member. This provides curricular resources for teachers as well as parent education opportunities around supporting the digital lives and experiences of children today.
"You can tell who the Stanley students are. They’re more poised and they know how to stand up for themselves and get what they need from their teachers.”
Comment from an independent school high school teacher
Our commitment to teaching students these crucial skills is reflected in the fact we have three faculty positions solely dedicated to social and emotional instruction and support: one for our K-1-2 grades, one for 3-4-5 and one for our middle school.
Together, they ensure all faculty share a common language and an understanding of what Stanley teaches in the area of social and emotional skills.
With a background in social work, Allison entered the Stanley Teacher Preparation Program in the 1990s and was an integral part of the K-5 teaching team for many years before starting the Stanley Social Emotional Program. Allison enjoys working with students, teachers and parents on how to navigate difficult situations and be the best people we can be while making a positive difference in the world. Allison loves her Social Emotional class times and small group sessions with the children. She also likes playing on the playground with them!
Laura loves being the 3-4-5 Social Emotional teacher at Stanley because of its authentic dedication to teaching and embracing the whole child. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Laura draws from her experiences in both school and mental health environments to create engaging lessons and meaningful relationships with her students.
Carley Thaw, our interim middle school counselor, has a strong background in working with children and mental health support. She's most recently served as a clinical therapist working with a wide range of students and has also worked directly in a K-12 independent school in New Orleans. Carley has earned her Master's in Mental Health Counseling and loves supporting each child in unique ways that meet them where they are. Born into a family of educators, Carley is excited about working at Stanley and the middle school.