How We Approach Social Emotional Learning

At the start of each new school year, we ask parents to complete a “Hopes and Dreams” sheet for their child. Teachers take note of your input and revisit these hopes and dreams throughout the year. Why do we do this? We want to better understand your child and see how we can help provide opportunities for developmental growth. Here are the top “hopes and dreams” we hear from many parents: they want their child to develop more responsibility, learn how to better manage their emotions, gain confidence, and learn how to be a good friend.

These “trigger” words actually fit into the developmental milestones of early education. Your child is more likely to reach these milestones in a program that emphasizes social emotional integration.

Did you know that social emotional learning (SEL) is a huge talking point throughout all education levels? According to the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence:

“SEL refers to the process of integrating thinking, feeling, and behaving in order to become aware of the self and of others, make responsible decisions, and manage one’s own behaviors’ and those of others’” (Elias et. al., 1997).

Research collected from Yale concludes that in schools where social and emotional development are paramount, students are more likely to succeed academically and also foster more meaningful relationships with their teachers and classmates. Additionally with SEL integration, children are less likely to engage in problematic behavior (Durlak, Weissberg, Dymnicki, Taylor & Schellinger, 2011). With your hopes and dreams sheets as proof, the Tobin teachers are with you in wishing all of the above for your children. We are passionate about doing all we can to see these gains.

At Tobin, we come face-to-face with social emotional learning continuously throughout the day, in all of our programs. Here’s a look at what social emotional learning looks like here at Tobin Beaudet Schools:

  • Teachers wait to insert themselves into an altercation until after giving children time to attempt to solve the problem themselves
  • Teachers express empathy with the children during teachable moments, i.e. “I would feel” or “How would you feel if…”
  • We use a bulletin board as a tool in our Junior Kindergarten classroom: the children see an apple basket visual, where apples are added when children are seen being a good friend
  • Character education books are also incorporated into lessons, i.e. “Whole Body Listening Larry” where children are taught to listen with their hearts and show compassion
  • Moving away from asking children to immediately say, “sorry” and instead transition toward phrases like, “He/she looks sad, can you check on him/her?”
  • Half Day Kindergarten class work time jobs: the students are responsible for completing assignments on their own time and checking off their names once completed
  • Instead of asking a child to take a “time out”, the teacher asks the child to think about their actions and come back to join the group when they feel ready to do so
  • Children are encouraged to first talk to classmates who are directly involved in a problem, rather than approaching the teacher immediately

Please feel free to talk to us if you have any questions about social emotional learning, or if you would like more information. We consider ourselves part of your child’s team, and we share the same hopes and dreams for them!

Looking for an introduction? Check out this great video.


Thanks to Kaylin Beauregard, one of our caring teachers, for researching and writing this post.


“5 Keys to Social and Emotional Learning Success.” Youtube, uploaded by Edutopia, 14 May 2013,

Brackett, Marc A and Rivers, Susan E., Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, Yale University. Transforming Students’ Lives with Social and Emotional Learning.’-Lives-with-Social-and-Emotional-Learning.pdf

Nurturing, Educating, and Empowering Children