Feel Good, Do Good

focusing on social and emotional wellness

Movement breaks can be an opportunity for fresh air, to take a mask break and—when led by Dr. Lara Monasch, psychologist at Meadow Pond Elementary School—a time to blend empathy with physical activity! Her games ask students to step into another’s shoes, figure how that person might be feeling and respond.

In years prior, school social workers and psychologists would primarily see students who were identified as needing support. This year, it’s universal.

“All students are engaged in social and emotional learning,” said Dr. Michael Weschler, assistant principal of Increase Miller Elementary School. He’s been part of the team leading social-emotional wellness initiatives at Katonah-Lewisboro’s elementary level for the last decade. “It’s an opportunity for us to monitor and connect with students. A lot has happened since schools closed last year. Students need to have an opportunity to express how they feel.”

essential for learning and for life

“We're supporting core social-emotional skills of understanding and managing emotions, feeling and showing empathy for others, and setting and achieving goals,” said Jessica Fulton, a social worker at Katonah Elementary School. "The first skill in dealing with emotions is knowing what you are feeling."

Psychologists and social workers also get to know the remote-only students. “We help our at-home learners develop patience when classes don’t start on time and problem-solving strategies when they can’t access what they need on their computer,” said Dr. Monasch. “It’s important that they know there’s another adult out there that they can reach out to and talk to.”

Each elementary school is finding a way for clinicians to check in with children. Not only do students enjoy the social emotional wellness activities, they’re gaining tools that support their development as eager, curious and confident learners.