Since the inception of the Ohlone philosophy about 35 years ago, social-emotional learning (SEL) has been an integral part of the curriculum.
The value of embedded SEL is validated through neuroscientific research. The fact that all or most of what we learn first passes through the parts of the brain that regulate our emotions is one supporting scientific conclusion.
While implementation of SEL practices varies somewhat from classroom to classroom, every class includes daily meetings. These meetings serve as a medium for strengthening community and addressing proactively such concepts as empathy, self-advocacy, safety, communication skills, conflict resolution, and personal responsibility. Teachers access an array of resources for introducing such concepts.
In addition to this, teachers are encouraged to take the time necessary to debrief situations that occur at recess. Often, classrooms will meet as a whole to solve problems democratically. It is also not uncommon for individuals to be invited to a different classroom so that problems can be solved and lessons learned.
The Ohlone Culture
While character education and SEL programs are a relatively new idea at many schools, they have been an integral part of our school culture for years. We seek to integrate SEL into all that we do. We do approach social bullying and other related concepts on at least a daily basis-and have for years. It is a part of our identity and has been embedded in our culture for a long period of time. Does that mean that our playground is bully-free? Absolutely not. But are teachers given the latitude and encouragement to address SE needs on an immediate basis, at times in conflict with other subjects? Yes. It is part of the Ohlone Way.