Social-Emotional Learning & Wellness

Social-Emotional Learning & Wellness

Our social-emotional curriculum is anchored in the research of positive psychology and focuses on five key signature strengths that we, as a community, highlight as essential life skills in promoting positive well-being in our students: Gratitude, Kindness, Curiosity, Perseverance and Empathy. Through weekly life-skills lessons in the 1-4 Kehillot, Advisory lessons in the 5-8 Kehillot, special workshops, and activities that focus on cultivating these strengths — we aspire to imbue our students with these essential characteristics.
Weekly Life-Skills Lessons
Students in the Lower School Kehillot participate in weekly life-skills lessons that focus on the cultivation of positive well-being. During these lessons, students are taught the positive correlation between gratitude and well-being, illustrating that they have the unique ability to impact their well-being. Students engage in conversation and hands-on activities that promote mental health such as meditation, mindfulness, and communication skills. They keep a Gratitude Journal throughout the year in which they reflect on and record “mini-moments of gratitude,” a practice that enhances life satisfaction.

Middle School Advisory
The Middle School Advisory program meets three times per week with one or two advisors, in a smaller classroom composition. Each advisory session has a specific goal where organizational skills, community-building, and meditative practices are incorporated. Students practice meditation using Headspace, where they are taught that meditation can help minimize stress and anxiety, providing them with specific lifelong coping skills. Advisory is a time for community building where students may participate in a Hesed activity, celebrate communal holidays and play games. 

School-Wide Programming
School-wide programming that further cultivates our school’s five key signature strengths (Curiosity, Empathy, Gratitude, Kindness, and Perseverance) is scheduled throughout the year — with a day dedicated to each attribute, allowing students to explore and digest its importance. On Yom Gratitude, students share Divrei Torah on the Jewish connection between prayer and gratitude, create gratitude rocks to decorate our learning garden, and make gratitude collages highlighting where they experience gratitude. On Yom Kindness, students reflect on the impact to themselves and to others, of being kind. These days also provide a moment to extend beyond our own Kehillah, challenging ourselves to demonstrate kindness and compassion within our local community as well. 

Responsive Classroom
Responsive Classroom is a framework for building a caring, safe, and cohesive community in which children grow and mature, emotionally, intellectually, and socially. From an academic standpoint, Responsive Classroom helps us to create opportunities for academic choice and differentiation while also teaching children crucial skills such as how to take turns, listen respectfully to each other, and work effectively with a partner or in a collaborative group. Responsive Classroom allows each child to feel “seen.”
"We want our students to see their social and emotional development as essential to their growth at Schechter. We hope that they feel empowered to live a life of gratitude, perseverance, kindness, empathy and curiosity."

- Dr. Ilana Kustanowitz, School Psychologist
275 McKinley Ave. | New Milford, NJ 07646 | Phone: 201-262-9898 | Fax: 201-262-3026 |