Social-Emotional Learning Considers the Whole Child

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) is an integral part of The Leo Baeck Day School.

The Social Work team at Leo Baeck oversees this learning for our school to ensure we look at the whole child. Students learn the skills to understand their own emotions and how to demonstrate empathy for others. This includes how students engage socially and whether they:

  • interact with peers appropriately
  • listen effectively
  • learn with intention
  • regulate themselves

These skills develop and change as students grow and experience new situations.

SEL is integrated into the formal curriculum across all grades at Leo Baeck. The goal is to help students make responsible decisions and foster positive relationships with others. 

Social Workers work directly with students, parents and administration to ensure the wellbeing of all students. The Social Work team provides students with one-to-one support to create individualized goals, knowing that everyone’s needs are different. They work to build positive self-esteem, work relationships, resilience and emotional wellbeing. They provide counselling for ongoing mental health issues, including anxiety and behavioural concerns. Collaborating with parents on parenting strategies and implementing school-wide initiatives for student wellness creates a team approach. 

Social Workers partner with the administration to implement behavioural and coping strategies, serving as a key part of the student resource team by sharing observations and recommendations for students’ social, emotional and mental health development.


We like to share the following two examples:


A Social Worker visits the class once a month to highlight a key theme that the students are working on. One of the sessions we facilitated this year included sharing a “social story” with students on what to do when they get frustrated. Students discussed the strategies learned in class and were given a physical tool to share this lesson with their parents. These tools start to become second-nature when we have a chance to practice them.

Grade 7

Social Workers lead students in a monthly program, Cultivating Resilience, that aims to empower students with essential life skills for emotional wellbeing.  These lessons are designed to target self-concept, self-esteem, inherent worth, having a meaningful purpose in life and personal strengths and goals. Cultivating Resilience is an evidence-based, Judaism-inspired Social-Emotional Learning curriculum. It was developed as a collaboration between leading resilience researchers, experts in curriculum development and experienced classroom teachers. It empowers educators to present critical resiliency skills in 18 immersive lessons using hands-on activities, multimedia resources and lively discussions. 


We mark various national days throughout the year that are dedicated to mental health and support student wellbeing. These include World Kindness Day in November, Pink Shirt Day in February and Mental Health Awareness Week in May. We hold assemblies and/or Buddy activities across the grades to explore the themes of these days; they are enjoyed by students and staff for the new dimension they bring to school life. 

Being the Social Workers at The Leo Baeck Day School provides us with the chance to connect with students on a more personal level while guiding  them to navigate an important chapter of their lives. It is amazing to see the progress that students display over time as a result of ongoing support, focus and perseverance. Just like math or reading skills, Social-Emotional skills are learned through explicit teaching and repeating. 

Working as a team, we are better able to pair students with support individuals with whom they work well. Strong relationships are key to student success.

We take pride in the fact that families “let us in,” trusting us with their kids’ vulnerable needs. We are fortunate to be working in a school, where children spend the majority of their day, allowing us to use a positive, systemic approach and working as a multidisciplinary team. 

Find out more at

By: School Social Workers Jayme Ozier, MSW., RSW & Lauren Meisels, MSW., RSW

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