Social and Emotional Learning - Preventing Bullying

  • Children come to school to be learners, explorers, and community members. Their learning is often about developing academic skills; math, writing, reading, science. A child's ability to learn is influenced by their social-emotional skills, their understanding of self and others that allows them to act and interact in ways that are safe and show empathy and care.  Our staff continually spends time discussing the importance of social-emotional learning for each of our students, knowing the importance of this area for our children’s growth as learners and community members.

    When students are able to regulate their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, they will be more successful in the school setting. The ability to self-regulate facilitates positive participation in learning activities and healthy relations with peers and adults. As a school, we are spending time each week engaging children in short lessons focused on social-emotional learning and development. These lessons are reinforced through various classroom routines.

    The Second Step program for Kindergarten through Grade 5 is a universal, classroom-based program designed to increase school success and decrease challenging behaviors, by promoting social-emotional competence and self-regulation.  This curriculum has four units of lessons, focusing on skills for learning, empathy, emotion management, and problem-solving. The resource provides developmentally appropriate lessons intended to teach the skills and behaviors that strengthen a child's ability to learn, feel empathy, manage their emotions, and effectively solve problems.

    Equipping students with the skills taught in Second Step creates a safer, more respectful learning environment and promotes school success for all. Research shows that socially and emotionally competent children feel more connected to school and to their peers, thus creating a healthy, safe, and respectful school climate.  Our Second Step curriculum includes a set of age-appropriate lessons that address bullying specifically. The counselor or principal delivers these lessons in every classroom each winter or spring.

    At Sunset and in our district, we use this definition to help our students understand what bullying means:  

    Bullying is intentional, targeted, and repeated negative actions where there is a real or perceived power imbalance between students. These negative actions typically include physical contact, words, exclusion, gestures, name calling, rumors, teasing or intimidation.  Cyberbullying occurs when electronic communications are employed to perform above actions.

    Through these classroom lessons, we are teaching our students how to recognize, report and refuse bullying.  In grades 4 and 5 students learn how to be a supportive "upstander" and when/how to report cyberbullying.  For questions about how we respond to situations that involve bullying, please reference the Sunset Bullying Prevention Practices page.

    We know that children are learning how to work, learn and play in large groups, small groups and one on one situations in the classroom and during recess. When conflicts between students happen, we take a problem-solving approach and work on restoring and repairing relationships when someone has been harmed. We work with students proactively and responsively with the intention of helping everyone move forward with learning and being a positive member of our community.