Dallas Social-Emotional Learning School
The cornerstone of therapeutic intervention at Vanguard Preparatory School 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 curriculum 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 at Vanguard
Critical thinking, using logic and evaluating evidence, essential in disciplines such as history and science, help Vanguard students learn 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—consistently 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.
Within these sessions, students acquire and hone the abilities necessary to cultivate and sustain healthy relationships with themselves, peers, teachers, and family members.
Wellness classes encompass various activities, including mindfulness exercises, cooperative learning experiences, and constructive coping techniques such as focused breathing and visualization. These sessions often culminate with a physical movement segment, frequently conducted in the park adjacent to our school. For students in the Middle and High Schools at Vanguard, a daily Wellness Class is part of their routine, while in the Lower School, Wellness activities take place on a weekly basis and are seamlessly integrated into the daily morning meeting.
Vanguard provides explicit instruction in social-emotional concepts which are reinforced during classes. This is achieved through instruction during Wellness Class, followed by opportunities for students to practice these skills in real or contrived situations throughout the day. Wellness introduces mindfulness, cooperative learning, healthy coping strategies such as breathing and visualization, and movement. 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.
As a student at Vanguard, children often experience a shift where they start to attentively engage with teachers in the classroom, build friendships with their peers, and actively participate in school and home-based activities. In contrast to less experienced schools that might frequently request parents to pick up their child, Vanguard has established an environment where such calls are a rare occurrence, if they happen at all. What was previously considered a situation necessitating sending a child home has transformed into a valuable social-emotional learning opportunity.
Vanguard Preparatory School
4240 Sigma Road Dallas, TX 75244 | phone: 972.404.1616 | fax: 972.404.1641
Accredited By Southern Association of Colleges and Schools - AdvancED | TEA Approved
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