Social and Emotional Learning

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and apply the skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, show empathy for others, maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. SEL is vital for student success in school, work, and life! 

Maury emphasizes SEL in several different ways: 

Ashoka Changemaker School. Since 2013, Maury has been designated by the Ashoka Foundation as a Changemaker School. Through this initiative, we seek to cultivate empathy, teamwork, leadership, and problem solving so both parents and students can become changemakers. One way we do this is by “buddy classes” that pair upper grade and lower grade classes to do academic and social activities together. 

Responsive Classroom. Created by classroom teachers and backed by evidence from independent research, this approach to teaching consists of classroom and schoolwide practices for deliberately helping children build academic and social-emotional competencies within a strong and safe school community. Everyone at Maury is expected to treat one another with kindness and respect. Each month, the whole school joins together for a Morning Meeting where different classes take turn leading and students are recognized for being empathy leaders.  

Home Visits. In partnership with the Flamboyan Foundation, Maury has implemented home visits near the start of the school year for all grades. These visits allow teachers to meet and learn more about their students, which sets the foundation for a collaborative and trusting relationship to support each student’s learning. 

Mindfulness. In partnership with Minds, Inc., the Grade 2 classes are led in twice-a-week mindfulness sessions over six weeks by a Minds, Inc. teacher.  Mindfulness trains participants to pay attention to the present moment through simple breathing and other exercises. It helps students build in a “pause button” to react thoughtfully instead of impulsively. 

Roots of Empathy. The Roots of Empathy Program pairs Grade 4 classes with a baby and his/her parent over a nine-week period. Students become attuned to the baby’s needs and emotions. This opens a gateway for the students to learn bigger lessons about taking care of one another and considering others’ feelings. 

Second Step. Second Step provides age-appropriate music and videos, take-home activities, and stories to help teachers integrate SEL into their lessons. Skills focus on sparking curiosity, problem-solving, self-regulation, and empathy. 

To learn more, please contact the SEL Committee at: