Social & Emotional Learning + Executive Skills
At KLS, we put an intentional focus on the relationships that make up our learning community. Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is the means by which we formally address and embed the relational aspects of whole child development for all students, beginning in IL1.
Social and emotional learning refers to the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. In addition to supporting students, including a focus on SEL within the context of school can provide a variety of benefits, as the research shows: it can lead to increased academic performance; improved behavior; and long-term success in a variety of areas as adults.
As a means of addressing the importance of relational skills, KLS aligns to six core standards* that highlight the need to develop awareness and understanding of both self and social competencies:
These Social and Emotional Learning Standards and the emphasis on relational development serve as guiding principles at KLS, in both the Lower and Upper Schools, in implementing three main pillars of social and emotional learning.
- SEL Instruction: Focus on self and social skills through formal teaching and through embedded integration of SEL focused practices.
- Community Engagement: Ongoing opportunities for service learning.
- Executive Skills: Complementary to SEL. Focus on thinking and doing skills.
Integration of these three components is woven into the fabric of teaching and learning at KLS. Students meet in small groups for content-specific Advisory sessions.
Executive Skills refer to the brain-based, cognitive processes that help us to regulate our behavior, make decisions and set and achieve goals. In short, Executive Skills refers to the set of skills required to get things done. What kinds of things? Typically non-preferred tasks: writing papers, finishing coursework, completing chores, planning for tomorrow, etc. Another way that KLS provides support in order to develop the self and social relational competencies that are so important to becoming a successful learner is through an intentional focus on Executive Skills.
- Executive Skills domains include:
- Response Inhibition
- Working Memory
- Emotional Control
- Task Initiation
- Goal-directed Persistence
- Sustained Attention
- Time Management
Through our personalized learning approach students are able to be met where they are and supported in Executive Skill development based on their unique needs. This happens through embedded practices that are part of how staff teach as well as through intentional instruction and individualized student support.
KLS also has a licensed mental health therapist on site who serves as the School Counselor. The Counselor is available to work with students on their social and emotional development as a means of supporting students in their efforts to be successful at school. The Counselor is also available to work in collaboration with KLS staff, parents, and outside providers to support students.
Director of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), School Counselor