Social and Emotional Learning at P.S. 142
At P.S. 142 we believe that students need to feel safe and secure in order to be open to learning. We work to help students develop a language for how they are feeling, so they can express their emotions clearly. We also help students learn to respect the feelings of others -- so that when someone is having a hard time, we give them the space they need at that time.
We use restorative circles for conversations about how we can be good community members and how we can respect the different people in our school community. Circles can also be a space for discussions about problems in the community and a time to work together to find solutions to those problems. The 4Rs curriculum from the Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility is the foundation of our SEL instruction.
Sometimes, despite all of our efforts, children can have conflicts. When this happens, we believe these are opportunities for students to learn and grow. We aim to empower students to resolve conflicts on their own and in small groups. Restorative circles, within the classroom community, are the initial step to help mediate the conflicts. We work to help students understand the harm that their actions caused, and then to repair the harm to help restore the safety and security of the community. This process may include a consequence for the child who engaged in the inappropriate behavior, but our goal is much deeper than merely punishment. We aim to address the underlying problems that may have led to the harmful action in the first place. This does not mean that there are no consequences or punishments when rules are broken. However, punishment is not our first response. Instead, we work hard to help and teach students how to communicate with each other, work out their differences, and move forward to (re)build a strong, supportive relationship.
We want students to know that they are loved and part of a strong, caring community at school. We want them to know that even when they make mistakes or cause harm, they can work to repair the damage and they can still be a part of the community. When students know they are loved and understand can learn from and repair mistakes, the foundation for academic, emotional, and social success is laid.