EAST BERLIN, Conn. (WTNH) — A program developed at Yale University is now being used at Hubbard Elementary School in East Berlin. Principal Al Souza tells News 8, “Students social and emotional health and wellbeing, that’s the foundation their academic life is built on.”
They decided to implement the RULER Program in 2019. It stands for recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing and regulating emotions.
There are four key components of the program. Each component is taught to students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Even teachers and staff learn the components to help create a universal language throughout the school, “There’s a very cohesive clear understanding of this is what we value, this is how we value it, this is how we live it,” says Souza.
Each of the classes implement a list of goal words at the beginning of the year. Representing the ideal or best self. Every day the students work to emotionally reach their goals and teachers encourage them to use strategies to make sure they get to an emotional peak.
Third grade teacher Mary Raney tells News 8, “In third grade they don’t typically have that language they have happy sad or mad and then they start realizing they’re aggravated disappointed or frustrated.”
They also use a mood meter. Students point to one of four colors daily to show their emotion; red, blue, yellow and green.
The program doesn’t just enhance their vocabulary, according to school psychologist Elizabeth Atwood-Daley, “Understanding how they’re feeling what strategies they can use how they can calm themselves down.”
When students are in a stable emotional state they are more available to learn and comprehend the education curriculum.