Social Emotional Learning

A group of middle school girls pose for a picture on the field.

We are committed to providing students with tools to thrive socially and emotionally. It’s a critical part of academic success. Our school counselors visit each classroom once in every 7-day rotation to discuss strategies for self-management and emotional regulation. We use a variety of SEL programs to help students manage big feelings, resolve conflict, build empathy, and become better communicators. Click through our various SEL curricula below to find out how we use each in St. Paul's classrooms.

Social Emotional Learning Curriculum

Two pre-kindergarten girls are laughing together.

"We know that in order to begin learning, students first need to feel safe and supported. Our SEL programs give students the tools to express their feelings and needs while helping them build trusting relationships with teachers and peers. We want our students to feel comfortable expressing themselves so teachers can understand and respond in supportive ways."Luci Hoad, Middle School Division Head

How Our Counselors Help Students

St. Paul's counselors at the school's sneak peek.


Our school counselors, Mr. Patel and Mrs. Spendlove, are always available to help our students and their families. Here are some examples of how they support students at school:

  • Meet with a student to do some role-playing exercises and talk through different solutions.
  • Provide short-term confidential counseling at school.
  • Assist in managing outside mental health support.
  • Provide students and parents with resources to help navigate specific situations.

Why SEL Matters

Middle school boys pose for a picture.


Research from the field of emotion science finds that children who understand and manage their feelings make more responsible decisions, have stronger relationships, and perform better in school. SEL is a critical part of our school's mission to develop confident learners, ethical citizens, and compassionate, engaged citizens. 

Counselor Classroom Activities

An early childhood student waddles like a turkey with a balloon between his legs.
Sunshine Circle Games in Early Childhood

Before Thanksgiving, early childhood students waved at friends in parade, waddled like turkeys with balloons, and searched for a wish bone behind our friends' backs. Students finished their Sunshine Circle class with a Thanksgiving feast (an M&M) and named what they were thankful for.

Two 3rd grade students play a game where they blow a feather back and forth.
3rd Grade Practicing Focus

In 3rd grade, students completed a Sunshine Circle class based around self-control. Students played three games, each progressively getting more challenging. They played a partner game where students had to blow a feather back and forth without running, jumping, or diving. It sounds silly, but this kind of game really hones those self-control skills! 

Preschool Students Lean into Feelings

Preschool and Pre-K students worked on noticing where they feel things in their bodies and colored in a map of their bodies. Students learned about leaning into their feelings, rather than hiding and being afraid of them. We encouraged parents to continue this conversation at home by using the RULER mood meter to check in and name feelings.