Our SEL Committee Promoting Kindness and CARES Actions at McKay
This year, we formed a Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Focus Group to look at ways to help promote actions that help our students to more effectively regulate their emotions and to make kind and positive choices in social spaces and contexts through our CARES acronym:
- C OOPERATIVE
- A CCEPTING
- R ESPECTFUL
- E MPATHETIC
- S AFE
At our Pro-D Days on November 25th and January 27th, we invited members of the District's SR Team to help us deepen our use of the CARES matrices to create common language and understandings of Socially Responsible choices that we can all make within the McKay community - in our classrooms, hallways, playgrounds, washrooms, gymnasium, and even when interacting in others in cyberspaces and social media environments.
Our explorations within this important area of learning continues with an instructional focus on Acts of Kindness within our classrooms and through School-Wide activities throughout the month of February.
In addition to sharing and promoting lessons and resources for our staff to utilize with their learners in classrooms, our SEL Inquiry Focus Group has planned many exciting and powerful school-wide events, including:
- On February 14th, we highlighted our focus on “Lifting Each Other Up Through Kindness" with "Red And White Friendship Day"
- On February 21st, we will kick off a CandyGram Kindness Campaign that will run to the end of February
- On Wednesday, February 22nd, we will engage our community with Pink Shirt "Lift Each Other Up" Kindness Day. Our SEL Committee has planned an assembly and School-Wide Teams Activity (students in K to 7 teams) in which our students write ideas, actions, or comments on "Kindness Balloons" that promote kindness and help lift the spirits of others within the McKay community.
This collective exploration of teaching and learning within SEL our staff connects strongly to our focus on the Core Competency of "Communicating: Connecting and Engaging With Others" and how much we value "Student Voice" as fundamental to the development of our School Story:
We want to hear how our School-wide focus on SEL, our CAREs acronym, and on "Lifting Each Other Up Through Kindness" has impacted our learners. We also want to use this as an another opportunity to develop our students’ abilities to effectively and descriptively reflect upon and communicate their thinking and learning.
With this in mind, three to five students in each division will meet with Mr. Hurst in the coming weeks to reflect on their learning about kindness. Each student will be asked the following "Spirals Of Inquiry" based questions:
- Can you tell me something or describe something that you learned about being kind that you enjoyed or think will help you as a learner?
- Why do you think it is important to learn about kindness?
- Do you feel that you are treated kindly by others at McKay?
- Can you name three people (adults or students) who show kindness to you at McKay?
- In what ways do you think you are good at being kind to others?
- What are your / our next steps as a learner / learners about kindness?
SEL Survey Question: In addition, our students will be asked a question that is directly related to our School Story Question "How can we continue to incorporate social emotional learning (SEL) and design learning environments which will improve student self-regulation, social connections and meaningful engagement in learning?"
Primary Students: What helps your mind, body and heart feel calm when you have big feelings (mad/sad/angry)?
Intermediate Students: What are some helpful strategies you have to cope with difficult emotions?
The SEL learning experiences provided for our students have strong links to the Core Competencies of:
- Positive Personal and Cultural Identity
- Social Awareness and Social Responsibility
This school-wide focus connects with the Personal and Social Core Competency, and is aligned with the District's Strategic Plan Priority 1 of "Inspired Learners" and Priority 2 of "Diversity, Equity and Inclusion" (DEA). We believe that McKay is a wonderful place to call home, but we also know that we can all learn to make life and learning more equitable and inclusive. We also believe that, as members of the McKay Mustang family, we have the individual and collective power and responsibility to ensure that all of our students feel safe, secure and connected.