Social and Emotional Skills
Connected Compassionate Community is the culture at Journey School of Costa Rica. Partnerships between families, parents, teachers, and administration create a safe haven to learn, teach, and model Social and Emotional Skills. A connected school environment not only increases academic success but fulfills our needs as humans to belong. We want children to bring their whole selves so we can teach the whole child.
The Founder of Conscious Discipline, Dr. Becky Bailey says, “On some level we are all interconnected to each other. This oneness can not be seen but is sensed and felt on a deeper level.” We use this as our drive with all of the children on campus, from Infancy to High School.
Let me take you through one part of our Social Emotional Journey – Breathing.
At Journey School of Costa Rica, we practice mindfulness and self regulation starting with infancy. When the babies in the classroom are upset and crying we place them on our tummies and take deep breaths; as we inhale and exhale the babies sense our calm and feel connected, comforted, and safe.
As they enter toddlerhood, we teach Conscious Discipline’s 4 breathing techniques and make posters as reminders around our classroom. During Morning Meeting we focus on breath for the day. That way when Big Toddler feelings arise we can practice breathing and gain understanding of our emotions.
In Preschool, we continue to practice that breath. We get better at it each day! It becomes a natural instinct and common language as the children develop more speech and spend more time with their peers. This is why our Foundations spend more time practicing social and emotional skills incorporated in so many ways throughout the school day.
As we reach Elementary school, our Elements are so good that they can encourage their peers to breathe in times of conflict, over excitement, or stress. We give a reminder when learning new academic concepts like reading and writing to take a deep breath. It is new but we can do new and hard things!
Journey School of Costa Rica’s Middle School drama is combated with composure, reflecting upon our choices and actions while breathing before we make a decision. Our Bridges can take a moment and see how their action will play out and affect those around them before they respond. They may not always get it right, but through breathing we have more opportunities to be empathetic compassionate friends and classmates.
High School is full of big choices and decisions that influence your future. Having so much experience with breathing, mindfulness, and reflection, they are able to ease some of the anxiety that comes with this time. Choosing a college or life plan, taking your drivers test, and so many other choices our Pathways face are easier to manage.
Breathing and Composure are a prerequisite for teaching any other Social Emotional skills. This is just one aspect of our curriculum here at Journey School of Costa Rica. Composure allows us to respond instead of react. We are in control and driving the ship when we are composed. The ultimate sign of safety is composure, which allows us to access the higher centers of our brain where teaching and growth happens. We challenge our educators, parents, children, and community to take on the growth required to model the change we want to see in the world and in ourselves. Through our curriculum, interactions, relationships, Social Emotional learning is in everything we do.