The cornerstone of therapeutic learning here at Vanguard is the evidence-based method of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) taught with support from the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL). The CASEL framework enables us to measure students’ social-emotional progress in key areas such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and decision making. Through this framework, we strive to teach all our students emotional resilience, or how to stay strong and bounce back from adversity, acquiring skills that will enable them to become not only smart at school but also smart at life.
Integrating Academic Learning with Social-Emotional Learning
Critical thinking, using logic and evaluating evidence, essential in disciplines such as history and science, help Vanguard students in learning skills such as decision making and social awareness. Visual representations of mathematical data help students solve everyday life problems, and prominent figures from history, literature and science exemplify positive personal qualities such as goal-setting and tenacity in the face of setbacks.
Vanguard teachers—in collaboration with our therapeutic team—constantly seek to find and reinforce such connections between academic learning and the learning required to excel in life and in relationships with oneself and others.
In addition to ongoing reinforcement in academic classes, Vanguard explicitly teaches social-emotional skills through a Wellness Class, and our teachers find opportunities to practice wellness skills throughout the day, where students learn and practice the skills to develop and maintain healthy relationships with themselves, peers, teachers, and family. Wellness periods provide mindfulness, cooperative learning and healthy coping activities such as breathing and visualization. Wellness classes typically end with a movement segment, often in the park outside our school. In the Middle and High Schools, Vanguard students participate in a daily Wellness Class. In the Lower School, Wellness occurs weekly and is incorporated into the daily morning meeting.
Children who are engaged in academic learning achieve better social-emotional outcomes, and children who are making social-emotional progress are more likely to achieve academic success.
Being at Vanguard often means that for the first time a child begins to listen to teachers in class, form friendships with other students and participate in activities at home and at school. Where a less experienced school might call parents frequently, asking that their child be taken home, Vanguard has created an environment where such calls are rarely if ever necessary. What once was a send-a-child-home event becomes a social-emotional learning opportunity.
Vanguard Preparatory School
4240 Sigma Road Dallas, TX 75244 | phone: 972.404.1616 | fax: 972.404.1641 | email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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