Social and Emotional Learning

Social and Emotional Learning at Open Window School


Social and emotional learning (SEL) is a fundamental component of the Open Window School experience.

At Open Window School, we believe that young people become successful, healthy, life-long learners, when they are empowered to navigate their social and emotional world. Our students have high intellectual potential and diverse learning styles which can be a gift and a challenge. The integration of SEL in our advisory and learning platforms allows student voice and choice, identity development, emotional regulation, cultural competency, managing relationships and resiliency skills. Through intentional instruction, modeling, and opportunities for authentic practice, we foster the development of growth mindset and the emotional skills that students need to better understand themselves and what it means to be a part of a community. 

Meet the Counselors

List of 2 members.

  • Photo of Kristen Kennebrew

    Kristen Kennebrew 

    School Counselor
  • Photo of Kelly Crowe-Yrarrázaval

    Kelly Crowe-Yrarrázaval 

    School Counselor

SEL in Lower School

In Lower School, our SEL program addresses five core competencies: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills, and Responsible Decision-Making. Each year, students are presented with concepts that are appropriate and relevant for their developmental level. Across students’ Open Window School experience, concepts are often revisited to match the tasks of development students are encountering as they grow older. Students receive explicit instruction in SEL through lessons delivered in each classroom and experience opportunities to apply the skills they learn organically throughout the school day and in all environments as they interact with their peers and teachers. SEL is also integrated into academic instruction in meaningful ways.

Instruction in SEL might include role play, puppet stories, community building activities, partner or class discussion, self-reflection, and group problem solving. These teaching approaches are utilized throughout the division as students learn to recognize and name their emotions, show empathy, communicate effectively with others, resolve conflict, take the perspective of others, and form positive relationships. 

Our program also includes lessons on Digital Citizenship, Character Traits, Executive Function Skills, and Mindfulness. First and third grade students participate in lessons focused on personal safety, and fourth grade students participate in sexuality and health education.

SEL in Middle School

The Middle School Advisory and SEL Program builds on the five core SEL competencies. Students learn to recognize and regulate emotions, care about others, develop positive relationships and make ethical and responsible decisions.  


All middle school students are part of a small grade-level advisory group, which meets daily. The structure of the advisory program has various components. Students begin their day in advisory groups with a morning “check-in” based on a Responsive Classroom structure. This time allows for relationship building between peers and teachers and supports critical executive functioning skills such as planning, prioritization and organization. Advisory groups meet regularly to experience a specific SEL lesson on a foundational or emerging social-emotional topic. In addition to these scheduled advisory times, there are opportunities each month for Community Meetings and whole school assemblies.  
Our advisory curriculum represents research-based practices for social-emotional learning in independent schools today. Our teachers and counselors collaboratively design lessons that are developmentally appropriate to both provide a foundation of applicable skills, and to be responsive to the needs of students as they emerge. We use a variety of resources in this process such as materials from the Nueva Institute for Social-Emotional Learning, Learning for Justice, Common Sense Media, Stanford Program for Gifted Youth and many more. 

The core middle school advisory curriculum is comprised of five foundation skill areas: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills and Responsible Decision Making. All lessons are differentiated by grade level and follow a developmentally appropriate scope and sequence. Additional topics under each of the foundation skills include:

Self-Awareness: Emotions and Neuroscience, Mindset and Resilience, Personal Typology and Learning Styles, Impact of Self on Others

Self-Management: Emotional Regulation, Stress Management, Mindfulness and Relaxation

Social Awareness: Teambuilding, Empathy and Inclusiveness, Appreciating Differences, Giving/Receiving Feedback

Relationship Skills: Effective Communication, Conflict Resolution, Assertiveness and Self-Advocacy

Responsible Decision Making: Goal Setting, Problem-Solving and Leadership Skills
Open Window School provides a challenging academic curriculum blended with nurturing support from teachers that prepares students for long-term success.