The Wellness and Life Skills program contains three core areas of focus. The first is teaching students to identify emotions, perceive and recognize others’ perspectives, solve problems and manage emotions. The second focuses on mindfulness. Using a research-based curriculum, students are taught skills which build resilience to stress and anxiety, and develop a positive mindset in both school and life. The third focus is preventing, recognizing and identifying bullying behaviors, and students learn that bullying behaviors can be physical and/or relational in nature. We emphasize the need for kind works, inclusionary practices, avoiding mean teasing and reporting bullying behavior.
Developmentally, it is at this level that students experience a variety of social changes and connections with peers become a priority. To provide students with social skills and strategies in these areas, the course reviews the social skills curriculum with a focus on recognizing others’ feelings, solving problems, identifying bullying behavior and providing strategies to students to help create a safe social environment. Responsive Classroom practices foster a sense of community through activities such as Morning Meeting, and these experiences enhance and reinforce “The Husky Promise” and help build cohesion and classroom spirit. The program places specific emphasis on relational aggression, which is “using relationships to hurt others.” Examples include gossip, rumors, ignoring, exclusion and teasing. The focus of the program is to empower students with strategies when they are victims or a “kid in the middle” (KIM). It also helps students identify when they are being aggressors and provides them with ways to change their behavior.