What’s Right with Schools: Clinton elementary school focuses on social, emotional learning

Whats Right With Schools

CLINTON, Conn. (WTNH)– For many students, coming back to school after remote learning at the end of last academic year was a difficult transition, not just for the students but the educators as well. 

That’s why so many school psychologists put an extra focus on social and emotional learning. At Joel Elementary in Clinton, school psychologists built an entirely separate social and emotional curriculum to make sure students were getting the proper skills needed to balance remote learning. 

Jaquie Bonner is one of the two school psychologists.

“If you don’t take care of students’ social and emotional well-being, they’re not going to be available for learning,” said Bonner.

Bonner says the top priority this year was incorporating an added and intensive amount of social and emotional learning to the current curriculum.

“This is year is very different than anything anyone’s experienced with the pandemic,” said Bonner.

Katrina Hicks is another school psychologist at Joel Elementary and she worked to develop curriculum that is specific to the Zones of Regulation.

“What it does is it categorizes your emotions you might be feeling into four categories, there are blue, green, yellow, and red zones,” said Hicks.

The optimal zone is the green zone, students are calm and focused. The psychologists worked together to transform one of the school’s hallways into an area where students can re-center themselves and find the green zone. The specific hallway is called the Pathway to the Green Zone. 

It is made up of mazes, yoga poses and more active foot races. They compiled specific activities based off of previous research and studies to see what will help students most.

“The mazes in particular are a really great research-based way for students to focus their brain and bring about a sense of calm.” 

Hicks tells News 8, “If we’re noticing a child having a hard time paying attention, maybe they’re feeling amped up or worked up, the pathway is a great  way for them to get a movement break, to get some wiggles out, to get their brain thinking about something else.” 

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