Disclosure :: This post is sponsored by Ascension Episcopal School.
Social-Emotional Learning at Ascension
Ascension Episcopal School’s mission is to offer educational excellence in a Christian Environment. To accomplish this, Ascension places a high value on social-emotional development as an essential foundation to living out our mission with our school families.
Recent studies show social-emotional skills are often better predictors of future success than IQ. At Ascension, our preschool combines Conscious Discipline, a brain-based social-emotional learning curriculum to build resilience in our students, families, and faculty, with the work of Dan St. Romain to facilitate relationship-building between parent/child, teacher/child, and child/child through safety, connection, and problem-solving.
Through numerous daily interpersonal interactions, students have natural opportunities to learn and practice social-emotional skills. Conscious Discipline provides behavioral management and classroom structures, allowing teachers to turn everyday situations into social-emotional learning opportunities. Teachings focus on emotional management, assertive language (versus passive or aggressive), impulse control, cooperation, empathy, and problem-solving.
Since Ascension’s adoption of Conscious Discipline five years ago, the school has benefited the most in three areas: student’s ability to self-regulate, student’s becoming internally motivated, and adults responding versus reacting.
The very first skill of Conscious Discipline is composure. When faced with an emotional situation, faculty responds rather than reacts. Because they practice composure, they discipline from a place of love. This composure is practiced, modeled, and taught to students. Through composure, students learn self-regulation, allowing the brain to move from a survival or emotional brain state to an executive state. When in an executive brain state, everyone is functioning at their best, integrating new experiences and learning.
Additionally, the curriculum teaches choice-making based on internal motivators (being helpful and connected) rather than reward or punishment. Children choose behaviors because they feel a part of a whole and want to be helpful instead of choosing behaviors to get a sticker or have their stoplight color changed. This internal motivation is a skill that lasts a lifetime and benefits students in every aspect of their lives.
Robert Fulghum’s book, “Everything I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” speaks the truth. When students’ social-emotional needs are met, there is more opportunity for creativity, critical thinking and connection. Meaningful connections and relationships equip graduates to leave Ascension grounded with confidence and promise. With composure, self-regulation, and internal motivation, students can navigate a world and future that can only be imagined.
Ascension Episcopal School is a day school with approximately 700 students in PK3 through twelfth grade located on three campuses around Lafayette. Our Preschool Campus is situated in the heart of the River Ranch neighborhood and houses grades PK3-K. Ascension is committed to educational excellence in a Christian environment. To learn more about Ascension, please visit our website www.ascensionbluegators.org.
About the author
Julie Bourque was born in Lake Charles, raised in New Orleans, and is currently living on Lake Peigneur near Lafayette, Louisiana, Julie is embarking on her fourth school year as the Director of Preschool at Ascension Episcopal School. She’s passionate about plenty of things like spending time on the water, knitting for others and weaving pillows for her living room, but it’s her passion for helping young children communicate that lead her to becoming a Speech-Language Pathologist. After graduating from Auburn University and then LSU School of Allied Health, she used her skillset working with children in a pediatric setting but has been in the education setting for 18 years. She strongly believes knowledge of learning is continually evolving and intends to continue seeking and facilitating the best ways to help those around her meet goals and experience success, whether as a teacher or a student.