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Thetford Elementary School

Thetford, Vermont


All kindergarteners have guidance class once a week for 30 minutes. 

This is a busy time for children who are learning many new skills in school. One area that requires specific skills is social-emotional learning.  These important skills are often overlooked.  This is the realm where children learn how to understand and manage their feelings, how to make friends and be a friend and how to solve social problems.  Learning takes place throughout the day-in the classroom, on the playground and at home.  Children learn by watching and listening to how teachers, family members and friends interact with one another.

This year we will continue to use a curriculum called the Second Step program to help us think about, develop, and practice positive social skills.  Students will be building on many of the skills that they learned and practiced last year. 

The Second Step program is divided into four units:

Skills for Learning: Students gain skills to help themselves learn, including how to focus their attention, listen carefully, use self-talk to stay on task, and be assertive when asking for help with school work.

Empathy: Students learn to identify and understand their own and others' feelings. Students also learn how to take another's perspective and how to show compassion.

 Emotional Management: Students learn specific skills for calming down when experiencing strong feelings, such as anxiety or anger.


 Problem Solving: Students learn a process for solving problems with others in a positive way. 


Research shows that children that use these skills are more likely to get along with others and do better in school.


What we are doing this week

During the first few months of school, we have been spending a lot of time on understanding empathy. We begin this by learning how to identity six feelings: happy, sad, surprised, scared, mad, and disgusting. Children this age often know a few basic feelings words, such as happy or sad, but are unable to label some of the more complex feelings they may be having. Part of building empathy is to expand that vocabulary so that children are able to recognize more feelings in themselves and others. This week we are learning the definition of empathy and beginning to understand that feelings change.