As recently as two generations ago, children learned important life lessons by experiencing difficult situations and dealing with them on their own. In today’s society, children tend to be overscheduled, they lack downtime, and they have many situations resolved for them, so they don’t develop an ability to address and manage conflicts on their own.
St. Mary of Gostyn School is introducing a new program called “Second Step”, which helps students learn to express themselves appropriately, accept others’ differences, and detect social cues. “While we do a great job with academics and incorporating faith into our curriculum, we feel we need to cover the social and emotional needs of our students,” said Chris Kalal, Assistant Principal at SMG.
Second Step offers age-appropriate units for preschool through eighth grade. The elementary grades learn to role play with puppets, cards, and other visual methods, and address topics like Skills for Learning, Empathy, Emotional Management, and Problem Solving. These units teach students how to be respectful, how to soothe themselves and manage strong feelings, and how to show care and concern for others.
For sixth through eighth graders, the program addresses online values, resolving conflicts, and gender harassment. “Middle schoolers are expected to be able to handle difficult situations, like bullying on social media and conflicts on the bus or the playground,” said Kalal. “These units utilize digital resources and lots of conversation. They address values and friendships; thoughts, emotions, and decisions; and serious peer conflict. It’s important that students learn to manage anxiety, which is very pervasive in that age group.”
“Adding this curriculum is St. Mary’s way of responding to the fact that students need to learn more than the ‘three R’s’ to be successful,” said Kalal. “They need to learn to advocate for themselves. We teach them the tools to communicate with teachers, parents, and each other.” For more information, please contact:
St. Mary of Gostyn Catholic School
3-yr. Preschool through Grade 8
440 Prairie Avenue
Phone: (630) 968-6155