ClearWater Academy (CWA) has developed a comprehensive, research-based approach to promoting positive social and emotional development for our students. The philosophy at CWA is that social and emotional development techniques and therapies need to be an integral part of the daily school experience to promote lasitng improvements for students. The CWA approach is unique; it incorporates the latest research in emotional learning and social skills for student with various disabilities with an understanding of how emotional intelligence (EI) plays a role in the emotional and behavioral challenges that may arise. CWA has developed a comprehensive network of strategies and techniques that is embedded into the school day.
Grab the Wheel
We have partnered with Bryan Anderson, MSW, to bring to CWA the Grab the Wheel approach which recognizes that early childhood is the critical period for all children to learn how to identify their feelings, discover ways to calm down and solve their problems. Through the Grab the Wheel approach, parents and teachers can use one common language to help students understand their own behavior and learn how to be better problem solvers and better friends.
What the Wheels Can Do
- Provide teachers and parents with a simple behavioral intervention
- Help children learn how to identify and express their feelings
- Teach children how to ask for things appropriately-–no whining, not yelling
- Help children become more flexible, learn to find alternatives, try new things, solve problems, stay cool and move on when they can’t have their way
- Provide children with a way to monitor their own good and bad behaviors
- Give teachers a flexible guide that can be adapted to the behaviors of any child
- Help children with social skills during play
- Reward children for trying coping behaviors
Social Templates & Morning/Advisory Meeting
We also use social templates and scripts to meet challenges in various everyday social interactions through the Social Stories method developed by Carol Gray. The use of computer technology is emphasized and incorporated into the entire social and emotional development program to promote reinforcement of techniques and to make concepts individually meaningful to students. Role-playing and practice are important aspects of of utilizing and internalizing each of these components. In addition to using these techniques throughout the school day, CWA uses the concept of Morning Meeting (Lower School)/Advisory Meeting (Upper School) as a major instructional vehicle for introducing and practicing techniques daily. Morning Meeting/Advisory Meeting also promotes community within the school and the concept of shared responsibility for promoting a positive social and emotional environment of learning.
Sustained Focus Areas
Each school year, our teachers focus on one or two social and emotional development areas. For example, the two focus areas in one recent academic year were emotional self-regulation and taking the perspective of others, also called theory of mind. These focus areas may change from year to year according to student needs. Please see our Resources Page for links to additional social and emotional development information.