Second-Step, a curriculum designed to promote social and emotional learning for children is being piloted in some of the Therapeutic Day School (TDS) elementary classrooms. While academic instruction is a key component of our program, fostering emotional growth is also crucial to learning. For many students at TDS, development in emotional growth is part of long-term school success. Studies show students who can regulate their emotions, display empathy, and problem solve through peer conflicts experience higher rates of success.
Julie Noparstak, TDS Clinician, leads a weekly social work group. “I really enjoy using this curriculum because it offers our students the vital tools they need to be successful.” Julie shared that the curriculum offers common vocabulary, body language signals, visual cues, learning posters, puppets, music, and reinforces group activities. Students know what to expect with a consistent and structured lesson plan, “I think students have become more motivated to participate in group and will work through topics that were previously difficult to grasp. I’ve seen students much more connected to one another with an increase in respect and listening to one another.”
In a recent group meeting, students were introduced to the concept of compassion and took turns going around the room to determine what each one was feeling based on their face. A song about feelings and an interactive puppet show demonstrated the concept even more. At the end of the lesson, students talked about real-life scenarios by sharing how they would feel in the same situation. We are very proud of our student’s persistence in learning new concepts and skills.
Pictured above: Students in Ms. Larissa's elementary classroom during a Second-Step Lesson, with a special visit from Sparky and Sue