Kids in classroomFirst grade has adopted a few pets. Their names are Puppy and Snail! A dog and a bug may seem like an unlikely duo, but that’s the whole point.

Puppy and Snail are actually puppets and they are part of a new curriculum Bromwell is piloting to help students explore their own unique differences and how to get along.

It can be a forgotten party of elementary education: social and emotional growth. Yes, there’s math and reading, but there’s also learning how to be a good negotiator, how to treat others fairly, and how to listen. “These are the skills that if we invest in now, the future pay offs are huge,” said Anne Marie Stevenson, 1st grade teacher. “We are building the child inside and out,” added co-teacher Alyssa Beski.

The program Bromwell is testing is called Second Step and it focuses on teaching empathy and helping children learn critical listening skills. “We create scenarios in which the students are pushed to put themselves in other’s shoes,” noted Stevenson. “We teach them about empathy as a foundational skill for problem solving and being able to recognize that feelings can look different on other people.”

In only a few short weeks the teachers have both seen amazing progress, especially when it comes to problem solving skills. The best part about the program: it’s fun and the children look forward to the songs, videos, and of course, the puppets!

Bromwell is also testing another unique social and emotional development program with older students. A portion of these pilots were funded by parent donations, and the plans are to expand the curriculum assuming this year’s fundraising goals are met. So, this is a final shout out from Puppy and Snail encouraging you to kindly buy your auction tickets!

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