Social Emotional Learning

What was the inspiration for a Social Emotional Learning Program at PS9?

Students’ needs are at the heart of this program. Our motivation is to build students’ confidence and to teach them how to learn and grow from their mistakes. Our commitment to “positive discipline” throughout the building has also helped to shape the program at PS9. Evidence shows that social emotional learning improves students’ interpersonal skills and increases their overall academic performance. Not only does the program benefit our students on an individual basis, it also serves as a foundation for our community culture.


How is the Social Emotional Learning Program carried out?

The 5 Core Values that guide the PS9 Social Emotional Learning Program are Kindness, Gratitude, Friendship, Perseverance, and Courage.
As a school, we emphasize each trait for a 2 month period. Teachers at all levels integrate activities around these traits into their core curriculum.

Books, poems, quotes, songs as well as students’ own actions and experiences are used as springboards to discuss these core values and from these discussions, teachers design activities. The goals of the classroom activities are not only to explicitly teach the meaning of each of the values, but also to demonstrate them and to provide opportunities to practice each of them. Teachers incorporate vocabulary to deepen the student’s understanding of each of the traits. Core values-themed bulletin boards and posters are displayed throughout the school. School-wide assemblies are created around these themes to emphasize their relevance.

As one way of quantifying the impact of the initiative, students are asked to complete a survey to determine the extent to which they can identify observed behaviors in their peers inspired by the core values. Students are also asked to reflect on the level of communication about social emotional learning that takes place between themselves and their families.

What is the Growth Mindset and how is it part of Social Emotional learning?

The Growth Mindset, the understanding that abilities and intelligence can be developed, is at the core of social emotional learning at PS9. This way of thinking is key to the students’ development because it teaches that effort and hard work lead to progress, driving overall motivation and achievement. The Growth Mindset also teaches students about self-reflection and personal accountability. We put this into practice at PS9 by teaching students how to give peer-to-peer feedback and by conducting student-led conferences.

How can families support Social Emotional growth in their children?

At home, parents can talk about and model the social emotional themes, growth mindset, and positive behavior choices. You and your children can read books from the recommended reading list compiled by the teachers on the Social Emotional committee. Discussing the themes raised in these books and in everyday life situations will go far in supporting your child’s social emotional development.

View Social Emotional Learning booklist

Additional Resources for Families

Good Reads
Dr. Ross Greene
Lives in the Balance

Please check in periodically for new resources.