Social-Emotional Teaching–and Learning

Faculty member and student standing outside of West End Day School, an independent school with counseling for children in NYC

West End Day School was a pioneer in the practice of social-emotional teaching, and that approach still remains at the center of everything we do. It leads with understanding and compassion and takes all aspects of a student into account, helping to create the kind of curriculum that will help them succeed. 

Social-Emotional Teaching isn’t solely about academics. Counseling plays a large role as well, and West End Day has a variety of programs that support students.

Our counseling program is designed to help ease the anxiety of students and families through individual, group, and classroom counseling. Much like our academics, counseling interventions are customized to each student and family, based on their needs. Each child and family will work directly with a dedicated counselor for the duration of their time at WEDS.

What we provide:

  • A dedicated counselor who serves as the family’s point person
  • Weekly individual counseling sessions focused upon classroom dynamics, utilizing talk/play therapy
  • Small group counseling to foster peer connections and decrease social anxiety
  • Regular meetings with parents and caregivers to better understand the student on a deeper level
  • In-the-moment counseling, should conflicts arise
  • Coordinated care with outside providers 
Student sitting with faculty member inside of West End Day School, an independent school with counseling programs in NYC
Students in their small groups for counseling at West End Day School, a school in NYC

Counseling Groups

Kids want to feel a sense of belonging and creating meaningful connections to peers can make all the difference.

This is where our individualized, social-emotional focused curriculum comes in. Our weekly Counseling Groups – both class-wide and on a smaller group basis – give us an opportunity to address the needs of the class, and to adjust to the dynamics of unique class groupings if needed.

Classroom Counseling Groups are integrated into our regular weekly curriculum, which eliminates anxiety around transitions and reduces the possibility for particular students to feel “singled-out” from the rest. 

Our Counseling Groups can look like:

  • Friendship Group
    • Tailored to our younger learners
    • Co-led by counselors and speech-language pathologists
    • Focused on building communication and problem-solving skills, and integrating how-to’s of fulfilling social interactions in their everyday lives
    • Utilizes interactive games, discussions, books, and role-playing, as well as tools such as the Mood Meter to promote awareness of feelings and self-regulation
  • Games Groups 
    • Geared towards our middle aged students
    • Led by counselors
    • Designed to build a stronger tolerance for win/lose situations, encourage  sportsmanship, and create a sense of fun during play
    • Incorporates board games, card games, and teamwork activities both outdoors and indoors, and continues the use of the Mood Meter
  • Advisory Groups
    • Involves our oldest students
    • Led by counselors
    • Allows a safe space for our maturing students to better understand themselves and each other in a supportive way
    • Helps prepare them for middle school and beyond
    • Promotes differing opinions and tolerance disagreements