Last month, our School Board formally adopted a new Social-Emotional Learning Curriculum that will be used in our elementary and middle schools beginning this fall.
Mallory Shull is a social worker at Spanaway Elementary School who has been piloting the new Second Step curriculum with students in kindergarten through third grade.
She said the topics addressed in the new curriculum are the same across grade levels, but as the kids get older, the lessons adapt to the students’ age. Shull said the lessons involve a variety of activities for students to take part in, including everything from dancing to discussions.
What is key about Second Step is that the language students are learning to talk about their social-emotional wellness is the same, whether they are in kindergarten or 8th grade.
“This language is really effective to use throughout the day.” Mallory Shull — Social Worker, Spanaway Elementary
For example, it can be difficult to talk with a kindergartener about the difficulties of problem solving when you’re upset. But by using fun, familiar phrases, like “flip your lid,” students are able to not only talk about difficult subjects, but learn lessons that will help them grow up to be socially and emotionally mature.
Having the curriculum in place at all of our elementary and middle schools means that when an elementary student moves on to middle school, the language will remain consistent.
In addition to being able to talk about their feelings, these starter conversations will also help students become more empowered to reach out to a social worker or counselor at their school when they need additional help dealing with difficult situations.
Shull said the fourth grade team at Spanaway Elementary had been piloting the curriculum this year and reported that it had been easy to implement in their classrooms.
“They jumped on board and picked it up,” Shull said. “They have really enjoyed it and haven’t had any issues.”
Parents will be provided links for many of the lessons, so they will be able to follow along with what their students are learning in class. This will also allow them to reinforce the learning at home.
The Second Step program will be implemented this fall at all of our elementary and middle schools.