Based on the Social Emotional Learning School Board Program
developed by Karen Desmeules
Karen’s Social Emotional Learning Program has become an important part of daily life in all our classrooms. Never before has training focused on wellness been so important for our students and staff. Karen’s own extensive training in SEL makes her uniquely skilled to offer such a rich and educational programme. Her combination of specialized SEL training with over two decades of teaching experience is the key to the success of this programme. Not only that, Karen has taken the time to visit each of our classrooms, forming relationships with students and staff. The countless hours that have been invested in both her in-person and highly interactive online lessons is humbling. Only a person with a true passion for teaching and for SEL could offer such rich programming. We are so grateful that we’ve had an opportunity to participate in this pilot project with Karen. I hope it is something our Board continues to support going forward. Wellness is a critical foundation for optimizing the our Board’s conditions for learning and I cannot imagine anyone more qualified to lead this programme than Karen Desmeules.
As a Board Social Worker, I get to wear a number of different hats. One of those is supporting staff (Teachers, Special Education Teachers, Child and Youth Care Workers) in their role around teaching students about mental wellness and good mental wellness practices. The course that has been created is structured, easy-to-follow, and breaks what may be seen as big concepts into small, manageable amounts that can be learned and practiced a little bit at a time for optimal student learning. What’s more, as each learning module is guided by Karen through learning videos, it doesn’t require prior knowledge or planning from the staff member to use – in fact the staff member can learn alongside the student(s) and practice the skills together. I have heard lots of positive feedback from staff who are using this course for their classroom and from staff who are using it individually with specific students. I think this course has great potential to teach many of our students more about their brain and how it works, and simple strategies they can use to be more mentally well at home and in the classroom.
I am a Child and Youth Worker at a K-6 school. I have been very lucky in that I am able to attend SEL daily with a junior class and with a primary class. I have been learning alongside our scholars each day in this program. I believe this program is strong. It creates a lot of inner thought. I feel this is something our scholars require and it is wonderful having such a safe way to learn about ourselves and our environment. I also enjoy how connected each lesson is. It moves at a great pace. Not so fast that if a scholar was absent for a day, they would be lost upon return, but fast enough that we do not lose interest. I find that most scholars look forward to this section of their day. Thank you for developing such a remarkable program and allowing our school to take part in this journey.
Child and Youth Worker
In my experience as a teacher for the past 14 years, nothing has been as helpful in the classroom as Karen’s Social Emotional Learning Program. It is changing the classroom culture, for sure. In a time of the “Covid-19 Pandemic,” it continues to do more than that. I believe the discussions, the skills/practices, the framework of this program are transforming lives . . . my students’ and my own. Thank-you. At times this year, it has felt like our very survival may be at stake. What an incredible context to find oneself in as an educator. I appreciate being able to access something, flexibly, that gives us a “space” to unpack the rich content in a structured, progressive way. Again, thank you!