For students to become lifelong learners, we need to equip them with a “user’s guide” to the brain. Social emotional learning is the heart of our program. Throughout the day, we help students explore their own thinking and emotional responses and develop a toolkit of strategies to support their learning.
Social Emotional Learning has several components: social-emotional development, creative thinking, and critical thinking.
Social Emotional Development
As a school committed to lifelong learning, our focus begins with social and emotional learning (SEL). Social and emotional skills are key to creating a safe environment for taking intellectual risks, developing the skills to pursue inquiry in small groups or independently, and to reflect on learning and behavior.
Students learn to recognize, regulate, and respond to emotions – their own and, with empathy, those of others. This might be through roleplay activities, through literacy time, or during free play and outdoor recess.
Students practice impulse control and self-regulation, taking turns during games or discussions or while crafting or blowing the perfect bubble at recess.
Students learn to understand themselves as a learner. They recognize where and how they work best. They identify strengths and challenges, set goals, and reflect on a learning experience.
Can students be taught how to be creative thinkers? Yes! By providing an environment that supports and encourages creative thinking, students can be taught specific creativity skills and strategies.
Creativity lessons and activities are woven in throughout the day and focus on the thinking strategies of fluency, flexibility, elaboration, and originality.
- Fluency: ability to produce numerous ideas
- Flexibility: ability to produce different ideas
- Elaboration: ability to embellish ideas
- Originality: ability to create new and unusual ideas
At The Kineo School, students learn not what to think, but how to think. When students build critical thinking skills, they become selective consumers of information. Our technological society makes vast amounts of information available, but this data is only useful if children learn skills to analyze and evaluate the information. Deborah Meier, a leader of progressive education, developed five ‘habits of mind’ to help students become better questioners and thinkers.
Five Habits of Mind
- Significance: Why is it important?
- Perspective: What is the point of view?
- Evidence: How do you know?
- Connections: How does it apply?
- Supposition: What if it were different?
We teach and integrate these habits through the day at The Kineo School. Whether looking at perspective in art or literature, finding evidence in a logic puzzle, or seeking a new solution to a playground problem, we incorporate critical thinking teaching and learning strategies at every opportunity.