Social and Emotional Learning

A Kindergarten student shows her bracelet to a middle school student
2 first graders look at paper snowflakes that are hung on the lunchroom windows

Teaching and Learning is Both Social and Emotional

Our social and emotional curriculum helps students learn self-awareness and self-regulation, which in turn facilitate their interactions with and understanding of others. We help kids to recognize their emotions and needs and how to express and manage them appropriately.

We believe children learn to become caring members of a global community by treating each other honestly, with respect and generosity of spirit. We teach children how to recognize and respond to the needs and emotions of others through the intentional teaching of empathy, gratitude, compassion, and kindness.

Social and Emotional Learning is central to Westside’s mission and core values, and is thoughtfully woven into every part of the student experience. We believe that all teaching and learning is both social and emotional. Therefore, all teachers have received training in Positive Discipline, which is at the foundation of our SEL work.

The Positive Discipline approach emphasizes connection with others, and recognizes what decades of research has proven: Kids learn best when they feel known, heard, and cared for by their teachers and peers.

Developmentally appropriate explicit SEL instruction begins in preschool and continues through 8th grade, teaching students skills and competencies in the areas of:

  • Self Awareness
  • Self Management
  • Social Awareness
  • Relationship Skills
  • Responsible Decision Making
Whether students are hard at work during a classroom lesson, having fun in their multi-grade Wolfpacks, or out in the wilderness on an overnight trip, the integration of SEL is evident in the way our students are attuned to themselves, others, and their surroundings.

To support and guide this SEL work, our Director of Counseling and SEL works directly with students, teachers, and families to provide the framework for a proactive and skills-based approach to Social-Emotional Learning.

Students receive direct SEL instruction through our Social Thinking (Lower School) and Advisory (Middle School) curriculum, and through small group or individual support for more emergent needs.

Teachers are also provided coaching on SEL integration as well as weekly meeting time to discuss and address emerging SEL needs within our community.

Families can find several resources at Westside, including a Student Support page on the Parent Portal; educational presentations by Westside teachers and administrators; and a Parent Education Committee that hosts guest speakers and community activities.

At Westside, we have no tolerance for bullying behavior, name-calling, or any conduct that belittles another human being.


From the Director of Counseling and SEL


A woman sitting on a couch and reading a book to a group of 2nd grade students sitting on the floor
A student from middle school watches a student from lower school write something on a piece of paper