Social Emotional Learning

Gifted learners aren’t just cognitively complex — they’re emotionally complex, too.

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is a particularly important part of their education, so at Helios we guide students with an SEL curriculum developed in-house and specifically designed to help gifted learners understand themselves and navigate relationships.

From their first days in kindergarten, our students sense the kindness that permeates our school culture and feel valued and supported. Our teachers weave SEL lessons into everyday classroom experiences as well as curricular themes, to provide deep exploration of the key skills of emotional literacy.

Gifted adolescents, with typically intense natures are offered the necessary support to navigate these changes and address their strong concern for moral issues and social justice.

In our program we emphasize Empathy and Perspective Taking. We begin by helping them build their emotional vocabulary — naming feelings and recognizing when they’re experiencing them. Our students learn to recognize feelings not only in themselves but in others, too. As they collaborate and solve problems together, we coach them to communicate their needs and understand how their actions impact others. They also develop friendship skills and conflict resolution strategies in the classroom and at play, which are essential to their social and emotional well-being.

As our students get older, our SEL program adjusts to meet the needs of the students. The middle school years are a time of enormous growth for students — their bodies, minds, and emotions are all changing rapidly as they begin to define who they are as individuals, as well as their role in relationships and the world.

Helios Middle School students are also assisted in developing a moral identity to guide behavior and responsible decision-making. Through thoughtful discussion, students clarify their values and align behavior and actions with personal ethical standards, providing a moral compass in which they can depend on when facing peer pressure or ethically ambiguous choices.

"The teachers listen to the children and foster a sense of agency in their learning. They are patient and so so so respectful of each child's sense of self. I've taken a few parenting tips from them myself. In short, Helios accepts gifted kids for who they are and helps them be who they're meant to be."

- Helios Parent

Preserving the Mind

"Helios is a rich environment for the preservation of the human mind. It is a place where children are encouraged to think critically and creatively to stretch the boundaries of their knowledge and imagination. It is a place where passion for learning is strengthened, where a standard for excellence is encouraged, where curiosity is fostered, where divergent thoughts are fed, and where perseverance is modeled. Much like the movement to save the rainforests, we need to protect and save the human mind. It is important that we do, our species depends upon it."

- Anabel Jensen, Director of Social Emotional Learning