Social Emotional Learning

We believe the integration of curriculum, character, and community provides the foundation for developing the whole child. Our program emphasizes a balance between academic and social-emotional learning–we consider these aspects of development equally important within the elementary education experience. Social-emotional learning at Meridian is integrated throughout each day and informs our school-wide expectations and the language that we use when interacting with one another. Two curricular approaches–Responsive Classroom and Social Thinking–guide our teaching and learning.

Our full-time, Social-Emotional Learning Specialist supports large group instruction led by classroom faculty, and facilitates small group counseling for students and families. Individualized or small group support is emergent based on student needs. This year’s groups included; adoption, anxiety, executive functioning, family changes (separation, divorce, loss of a parent), friendship circles, social skill-building and welcome wagon (for new-to-Meridian students).

Responsive Classroom

The Responsive Classroom approach is a nationally used, research- and evidence-based way of teaching that improves students’ social and academic skills and raises teachers’ instructional quality.  Our faculty members are trained in the Responsive Classroom approach, and use it to inform teaching practices and community expectations.

Guiding Principles:

  • The social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum.
  • How children learn is as important as what they learn: Process and content go hand in hand.
  • The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.
  • To be successful academically and socially, children need a set of social skills: cooperation, assertiveness, responsibility, empathy, and self-control.
  • Knowing the children we teach—individually, culturally, and developmentally—is as important as knowing the content we teach.
  • Knowing the families of the children we teach and working with them as partners is essential to children’s education.
  • How the adults at school work together is as important as individual competence: Lasting change begins with the adult community.

Classroom Practices:

  • Morning Meeting—gathering as a whole class each morning to greet one another, share news, and warm up for the day ahead
  • Rule Creation—helping students create classroom rules that allow all class members to meet their learning goals
  • Interactive Modeling—teaching children to notice and internalize expected behaviors through a unique modeling technique
  • Positive Teacher Language—using words and tone to promote children’s active learning and self-discipline
  • Logical Consequences—responding to misbehavior in a way that respects children, guides them to recognize the effects of their actions, and helps them develop internal controls
  • Guided Discovery—introducing materials using a format that encourages creativity and responsibility
  • Academic Choice—increasing student motivation and learning by allowing students teacher-structured choices in their work
  • Classroom Organization—setting up the physical room in ways that encourage independence, cooperation, and productivity
  • Working With Families—inviting families’ insights and helping them understand the school’s teaching approaches
  • Collaborative Problem-Solving—using conferencing, role-playing, and other strategies to resolve problems with students

To learn more, please visit Responsive Classroom’s website

Social ThinkingLearner Attributes

Academic Program

At Meridian, education is engaging and inspiring. The thematic curriculum fires imaginations and weaves academic learning into a joyful experience of exploration and discovery.



Equity and Inclusion

The Meridian School promotes diversity of thought and identity by bringing together community and curriculum to open minds and hearts, connect awareness to actions, and celebrate the contribution of the individual to the community.


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