Realizing What’s Within: Social-Emotional and Relational Learning (SE&RL) in the Junior School

This year’s pandemic has brought with it many moments of change and uncertainty. However, the pandemic has also brought with it many opportunities. The implementation of a Social-Emotional and Relational Learning (SE&RL) program/curriculum in the Junior School is one such opportunity. Understanding that students benefit from continued guidance and skill-building when learning and practising healthy social and emotional skills – particularly during such unprecedented times – the Junior School has committed time in this year’s timetable for each class to explore this further, in addition to all the teachable moments that occur during each and every school day. 

Strong social and emotional skills help students learn to manage their emotions, build healthy relationships, set goals and make positive decisions. As Junior School Student and Academic Support teacher, I will be working with each homeform to teach the SE&RL curriculum during a designated class period every Wednesday. A framework for this program has already been developed in the Senior School through the guidance department and the Junior School is excited to work closely with Ms. Krista Koekkoek and her team moving forward. 

It is understood that “explicit, whole-school efforts to teach SEL and to reinforce skills in daily school life have a positive impact on academic achievement and on student social, behavioural and emotional wellness” (School Mental Health Ontario). Further to this, social and emotional learning is now a distinct section in many curriculum updates in Ontario, most recently in the new math curriculum. As such, the Junior School is excited to embark upon this opportunity to help each student foster their own unique understanding of self and well-being to not only become stronger academics, but to be stronger people. Staff in both the Junior and Senior Schools will also be growing their SE&RL competencies as we know the best way for students to learn is through shared language, experiences and modelling. If you have any questions, please contact me directly at jreid@tcs.on.ca

- By Mrs. Jennifer Reid, Junior School student and academic support