Students in Ms. Larissa's Elementary Classroom during a Second Step Lesson, with a special visit from Sparky and Sue

Emotional Learning and Growth at TDS

Second-Step, a curriculum designed to promote social and emotional learning for children is being piloted in some of the 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 the key to long-term school success. Studies show that 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 in an elementary room. “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 reinforcing group activities that facilitate an interactive group. Students know what to expect with a consistent and structured lesson plan which is also positive. “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.”

For group this week, students were introduced to the next 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 this concept even more. At the end of the lesson, students talked about real-life scenarios by sharing how they’d feel in the same situation. We are very proud of our student’s persistence in learning new concepts and skills.

Pictured: Students in Ms. Larissa's elementary classroom during a Second Step lesson, with a special visit from Sparky and Sue.

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