Waverly elementary school students get social & emotional curriculum

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WAVERLY, Neb. -- Evelyn Hamlow Elementary School in Waverly has implemented Social and Emotional Learning into its curriculum. School leaders said it helps students become proactive rather than reactive when it comes to strong emotions.

"It's important for students to know how they're feeling and then they know what they can do about that feeling rather than resort to violence," said Ashley Hergott, School Counselor.

She said people are born with six innate emotions and the rest are learned.

The school is using "The Zones of Regulation" and "Second Step" to teach students how to handle strong emotions.

"After the school shooting had recently happened, one of the kids came to the rug and said, 'did you know that somebody was shooting kids at a school,'... and he said he naturally had a strong feeling and he didn't know what to do with it," said Kim Webster.

Each week classroom teachers block out 20-30 minutes to teach skills necessary to understanding and managing emotions.
"I take deep breaths," said 5-year-old Chloe Piper.

A student favorite is the glitter jar.

"You hold it and you shake it and then you stop and it's all going, that means your amygdala is firing, and then when it stops and goes to the bottom it means [you] stop getting emotional," said 6-year-old Griffin Good.

All of the students are also screened three times a year with a computer based test called DESSA or the Devereux Students Strengths Assessment.

"It provides us, as teachers and educators, a lot of great common language and a better way how to recognize how to help students and be more proactive than reactive," said Hergott.