Community Building Sessions
Each school year brings the challenges of new social relationships, school practices and routines, and feelings of anonymity and alienation to many students. Students may be inadequately prepared for a new school where there are more challenging materials and academic pressure from standardized testing. Lack of skills hinder students who are often expected to be independent learners. Instead of a fail-safe system of support, students may find there are only one or two teachers who make a strong connection with them.
SEL Community Building Sessions are designed to:
- Develop a positive community where students feel a sense of belonging, are significant members of the group and have fun.
- Teach and reinforce relationship-building skills.
- Promote social interest through sharing, listening, inclusion, participation, and dialogue.
- Model and practice social skills such as cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control.
- Merge social, emotional, and intellectual learning.
- Model and practice problem-solving and goal-setting.
- Promote effective decision-making.
An SEL Community Building Session has the following components:
- Breathing (for focus)
- Greeting (learn each other’s names)
- Sharing/Compliments (promote positive communication among students)
- Group Activity (build relationship skills)
- News (optional time to share important information)
- Transition breathing (to assist in moving to next activity)
SEL Community Building Sessions are a universal method for building positive school community and should be used throughout the school year with the entire grade level populations.
The anticipated results of SEL Community Building Sessions:
- Improved connection to peers, teachers, and school.
- Improved mental wellness, social and emotional competence, behavior, and academic engagement.
SEL Community Building Sessions also address the typical problems of childhood adolescence that are challenges to staying on track for school and life success:
- Potentially less parental supervision.
- Less positive relationships with their parents.
- Unmet need for supportive adults outside of the family.
- Increased peer pressure.
- Social pressure to act with a higher level of maturity and competence that may be possible.
- Physical and/or mental health concerns.