WHS incorporating SEL into the week; a Necessity for Students

WHS incorporating SEL into the week; a Necessity for Students

Delaney Vallee , Junior Co-Editor

WHS staff and students have been incorporating Social Emotional Learning (SEL) into their curriculum for many years. SEL is designed to focus on the importance of social and emotional wellbeing, and determining ways to prioritize it. Personally I feel that SEL is a very beneficial aspect of the curriculum. Students and staff are often so caught up in their daily lives, that they forget to take time to prioritize their mental wellbeing. 

The five components of SEL that are focused on at WHS are: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making.  These five components are designed to teach students to manage all aspects of their life, including school, family, emotions, etc.

About twice a month part of a class period is taken out of the day where teachers lead an SEL activity for the class. The lesson consists of playing a game relating to the SEL topic, having conversations with your peers, and occasionally time is left at the end for students to have time for themselves to either chat with their friends or catch up on work.

SEL helps bring attention back to the value of a good mental state, and can show students that your mental wellbeing is equally if not more important than your academics.

Westborough School District District Clinical Coordinator, Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Coordinator, Extended School Year (ESY) Director Ms. Tynan shared, “We know that our students face a great deal of stressors in their lives and we want to provide them with the skills to navigate these most successfully.”  

As research shows: The optimal Social Emotional Learning approach (and the one we are using here) is best described as three-legged: 

1) SEL is infused in school and classroom culture.

2) There is integration of SEL and content, where applicable. 

3) SEL skills are explicitly taught (our SEL Moments). 

Ms. Tynan also said, “The incorporation of SEL into curriculum and culture provides real-world opportunities for generalization and practice in a safe, supportive learning environment.  Social Emotional Learning skills can be explicitly taught and can significantly improve a person’s success, not only with academics and school, but post-graduation and in life.”

SEL demonstrates the importance of decreasing school stress. It is critical to remember that your mental health and well being are just as important. Sometimes you need to take those 30 minutes of class time away to get your mind in a good place, which is what SEL is designed to do.