Growing Minds: Resiliency During COVID-19

March 31, 2020

According to Marc Brackett, Ph.D., Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, repeated studies have linked emotional intelligence skills to our ability to thrive — academically, personally and professionally in normal day-to-day life. Now with COVID-19 temporarily redefining “normal life,” emotional intelligence programs like Yale’s RULER  (Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing and Regulating Emotions) approach are more important than ever. RULER is a research-based approach integrating Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) into schools. The approach has been shown in studies to help students and adults with their decision-making and to promote improved physical and mental health in hundreds of schools in the US and abroad.

Wheeler has invested in the professional development of faculty from all four divisions in RULER. We find congruence between the Wheeler’s, To Learn our Powers... mission statement and that of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence: The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence uses the power of emotions to create a healthier, and more equitable, productive, and compassionate society, today and for future generations.

The Wheeler Lower School pioneered the use of RULER several years ago. To formalize the division’s commitment to RULER and bring cohesion to all divisional SEL work, Wheeler and Hamilton’s teachers crafted a guiding principle: As a community, students learn to adapt to and work with the full range of emotion, develop greater self-awareness, and, through reflection, discover and embrace their own evolving identities. Students also learn to cultivate healthy relationships through compassion, inclusion and valuing multiple perspectives.

The RULER approach and other elements of other SEL programs have been woven into the fabric of the teaching and learning throughout each day in Angell. A glimpse into the classrooms might highlight expert teachers intentionally selecting books on empathy, guiding thoughtful conversations on equity, employing the Mood Meter, and developing a classroom charter where students feel honored, heard and known.

The RULER approach offers the same benefits at home as it does in school. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with RULER by going to the family engagement part of their website.  The benefit of RULER and other SEL approaches is that it can help everyone thrive in normal times and for moments like the one we find ourselves in now.

For advice on how to help your children name and comprehend their emotional reactions to current events, this SEL site contains information from RULER and other private and governmental organizations.

A little boy and little girl make facial expressions about the emotions Calm and Angry.

By Liz MacMillan, Lower School RULER Program and Young Un,
Head of Strategic Innovation and N-8 Divisions

Growing Minds is the periodic blog about Grades Nursery – 8 at Wheeler.

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