Social-Emotional Learning in the Lower School

Lower School SEL

At Whittle, we take the view that addressing the needs of the whole student is part of the concerted effort in attaining desired outcomes of education: raising and educating children who are knowledgeable, responsible, caring, and socially competent, and setting them on the path to becoming healthy, fulfilled individuals. 

We achieve this by infusing Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) into every aspect of the school and student experience. SEL refers to a cluster of attitudes and abilities needed to effectively manage emotions, empathize with others, establish positive relationships, and handle challenging situations constructively – or the process by which these skills are developed. 

SEL is fundamental not only to children’s social and emotional development, but also to their health, ethical development, citizenship, motivation to achieve, and academic learning. 


Setting Our Goals

Whittle Lower School


This past Friday, members of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades gathered together for a discussion of the Whittle graduate profile, which organizes development in three spheres: the World of Self, World of Knowledge, and World of Humanity. After discussing SEL components that help us develop in these realms, the classes kicked off a new SEL initiative by choosing a goal in each of the three areas. Over the next several weeks, teachers across the disciplines will help the students to assess and document progress toward their goal — as well as help them to think about how working toward each goal might feel different throughout their day. As the­y work towards their respective goals over the coming weeks, students will reflect and document their progress.



The Great Kindness Challenge

How Can We Be More Kind?


Our Lower School integrates SEL not only in the core curriculum, but also in joining with efforts beyond our community. This February, Whittle joined thousands of schools across the country participating in the Great Kindness Challenge, a powerful and positive bullying prevention initiative promoting more kindness, unity, and respect at school and beyond. Throughout the week, students participated in discussions and activities (i.e. art projects, X-Day activities, spirit days, and more) oriented around creating a culture of kindness – and worked to complete as many acts of kindness off their checklists as they could.


Learn more about our educational philosophy and approach to learning. Attend an upcoming event.