The Biome: Creating a Community Where Every Member Matters
At The Biome, we call our learners “Builders of the Future.” We believe that the foundation they create at The Biome will help them to become future leaders in our community. To support this development, the Biome surrounds our learners with support and views all children from a holistic perspective.
An important component of holistic learning is the intentional integration of opportunities for social-emotional learning. Social-emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children learn to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. Ms. Turney, second-grade classroom leader, emphasizes, “SEL is pre-learning. If students aren’t given the opportunity to practice and develop these skills daily, it barricades their learning.”
Social-emotional development is not only important for building a healthy classroom community now, but the impact is far-reaching. Up to 18 years later, students exposed to SEL in school continue to do better than their peers on a number of indicators: positive social behaviors and attitudes, skills such as empathy and teamwork, and academics. SEL participants also demonstrated a 6% increase in high school graduation rates, and an 11% increase in college graduation rates (CASEL, 2017).
At The Biome: Everyone Matters
At The Biome, every member of our community is valued. Each day, learners gather for a morning meeting where they listen and share with one another what is happening in their lives. In Ms. Sullivan’s first grade classroom, learners rate themselves on a scale of 1-5 of how they’re feeling and why. As the school year has progressed, she has seen her learners begin to recognize different faces and body language and understand how those relate to how someone is feeling. Her learners are quickly developing their listening skills and are making stronger connections to one another. These relationships help learners to support one another in the classroom. It isn’t uncommon to see learners stop and pull their classmates aside and remind them to take 3 big deep breaths when they are angry or upset – a skill one would assume only a teacher would employ.
At The Biome: Every Voice Matters
Choice is powerful. As a child, many choices are made for you. However, At The Biome, every day, learners have the opportunity to make choices for themselves, for their classroom, and for what they want to learn. For example, recently in Kindergarten, Mr. D’s students were exploring “What is a Scientist?” for their Big Question Unit. As a class, they voted and decided they wanted to learn more about chemistry. In response, Mr. D. focused their class time on projects that explore different principles of chemistry. When students are heard, they know their thoughts and opinions are respected and valued. This leads to a classroom culture where trust is felt, learners feel comfortable taking risks, and they are further motivated to solve problems, rather than to simply give up after the first try.
At The Biome: Everyone’s Contributions Matter
Teamwork is central to how we learn and grow at The Biome. If we don’t respect one another, we can’t work well with one another. In Ms. Turney’s second grade classroom, problem-solving skills are built on multiple levels. Learners are given real problem-solving scenarios daily just from the maintenance of their classroom – from determining how to keep books organized to deciding how to best remember everyone’s birthday. Projects and group activities teach learners how to break down tasks, take on different team member roles, and learn how to provide each other with constructive feedback. In Ms. Turney’s class, learners also have the opportunity to bring their problems to group meetings where they can get assistance and are able to make a choice on how they will solve a problem individually or together as a whole class.
At The Biome, you can feel the commitment there is to build a strong school community – from classroom leaders to parents, everyone is striving to make a contribution. We invite you to consider what contribution you can make to The Biome School Community:
As 2017 comes to a close, we invite you to support our 2017 Year End Appeal, where your contribution will directly support our holistic learning environment at The Biome by providing needed student support materials and services such as:
- PATHS Social-Emotional Learning Curriculum – $250 per classroom
- Occupational Therapy Services – $500 per month
- Literacy Benchmark and Assessment Tools – $1,000 per grade level
- Student Mental Health Counseling Sessions – $2,500 for an academic year
- Classroom Libraries – $5,000 per classroom