Social Emotional Learning, also known as Social Emotional and Ethical Learning, is a priority at Douglas Road. It provides a foundation on which other learning is built, and it addresses critical life skills for students. For these reasons and more, Social Emotional Learning is one of the pillars of our school plan.
Social Emotional Learning leads to improvements in students’:
- social and emotional skills
- academic performance
- perceptions of classroom / school climate
- prosocial behaviour
SEL also contributes to a decline in students’ anxiety, behaviour problems & substance abuse (information from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, & Emotional Learning).
SEL informs and guides our practice at Douglas Road and is behind these school initiatives:
WITS / LEADS program
WITS / LEADS program uses evidence-based training to empower youth to develop problem-solving skills to peacefully resolve peer conflicts. This program provides strategies to prevent peer victimization and bullying by engaging youth in leadership activities, demonstrating how youth can help themselves, their peers, and younger children to “use their WITS!”
A parent toolkit of helpful resources is available from the WITS Program Foundation. Among other resources in that toolkit is an information pamphlet for families about Using Your WITS at Home is available here along with a cyberbullying pamphlet for parents . There is also a list of books for children / families / youths that are helpful for discussing and teaching about conflict resolution, healthy relationships & SEL.
What it means to be a Firebird
A few years ago, students voted on selecting a new Douglas Road mascot. In 2020, students submitted artwork, and two student designs were combined to show what our new Douglas Road Firebird should look like. The firebird looks great, but we also want Douglas Road Firebirds to BE great. Again, we turned to our students and asked what makes our school great; what is important about the kind of people who make our school a place we all love to be? The kids said that when Douglas Road students are being their best, they are on F I R E ! Great Douglas Road students are:
Friendly Inclusive Respectful Enthusiastic
This gives us a common language about the people we want to be. When we talk about what it means to be a Firebird in lessons & problem-solving discussions
Even with teaching skills to use our WITS and teaching every child to become a student who LEADS, conflicts still happen. So using a common language for learning about how to apologise is also part of our program.
Celebrations of Learning
Regular assemblies inviting families to join the whole school to share and recognise learning taking place around our school transitioned to virtual celebrations sharing slides and video. Our Remembrance Day assembly was shared as a live event, other celebration videos are made available online for classes to watch together at school and for families & other students to view from home.
Whole school celebrations historically bookend the school year.
We look forward with hope to being able to return to our practice of ending our first week of school with a whole school picnic in a nearby neighbourhood park. It is a wonderful day when all students, new & returning can have an experience together as a whole school community. In 2019, we had our first year-end whole school picnic celebration at Belcarra Park (& beach!) with all the students and staff (and available families) for a culminating celebration of our year together as a school.