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Social Emotional Learning
Park Century uses a variety of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) programs to supplement our students’ academic and clinical programs. SEL, as defined by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) is “the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”
Park Century faculty have received in-depth training in the Circle Ways Council program, which brings the tradition of gathering in a circle to the classroom and creates a sense of equality, shifting the implementation of academic curriculum and social emotional skill-building to a more student-directed curriculum. Faculty who use Council report students who are engaged, open, and eager to build connections to their peers by listening to their stories and observing their interactions in a tranquil, comfortable, and equitable environment.
Social Thinking Program
PCS faculty implemented the Social Thinking program to provide students with strategies for developing social skills in order to create meaningful relationships, learn to work in a group or as part of a team, and effectively share space with others. The mission of Social Thinking is to “help people develop their social competencies to better connect with others and live happier, more meaningful lives.”
Park Century 7th and 8th graders meet weekly with Faculty Advisors in boys and girls Advisory groups. These groups aim to guide students through their academic, social, and personal interactions throughout the school year. The purpose of a small group Advisory is to provide a comfortable and supportive environment where students build relationships with a smaller group of their peers as well as their adult Advisors.
During Advisory, students foster more meaningful relationships with their peers by having discussions about deeper topics and issues (like digital citizenship, personal interaction with social media, health and hygiene, bullying, etc.) that aren’t commonly discussed in a regular classroom setting. Advisory sessions also provide support for anxiety, a place to “blow off steam” or process emotions when students or the school population encounters a trying event, or simply a break from the demands of the school day.
In Advisory, as in any other relationship, group members must respect each other, the time they have together, and the information shared during the sessions in order to create a group dynamic that is inclusive, supportive, and encouraging.