Gifted learners aren’t just cognitively complex — they’re emotionally complex, too.
Social-emotional learning (SEL) is a particularly important part of their education, so at Helios we guide students with an SEL curriculum developed in-house and specifically designed to help gifted learners understand themselves and navigate relationships.
From their first days in kindergarten, our students sense the kindness that permeates our school culture and feel valued and supported. Our teachers weave SEL lessons into everyday classroom experiences as well as curricular themes, to provide deep exploration of the key skills of emotional literacy.
A cornerstone of our approach is teaching students to develop empathy, which research shows is a linchpin to both happiness and effectiveness in life. We begin by helping them build their emotional vocabulary — naming feelings and recognizing when they’re experiencing them. To help students manage their strong emotions, we teach breathing techniques and mindfulness meditation.
We also emphasize perspective-taking, so that students recognize feelings not only in themselves but in others, too. As they collaborate and solve problems together, we coach them to communicate their needs and understand how their actions impact others. They also develop friendship skills and conflict resolution strategies in the classroom and at play, which are essential to their social and emotional well-being.
As a result, our students:
- Develop an awareness, understanding, and acceptance of themselves and others;
- Develop interpersonal skills to interact and communicate effectively;
- Recognize how others are feeling, develop perspective-taking skills, and appreciate and interact positively with diverse groups;
- Participate in activities that promote personal responsibility and service;
- Develop leadership skills;
- Use appropriate criteria for resolving conflicts and ethical dilemmas;
- Create and sustain a learning environment in which everyone feels safe and supported.