5 Ways Summer Adventures Help Strengthen SEL

5 Ways Summer Adventures Help Strengthen SEL

Perhaps more than any other time of year, summer is a time for the Meeting House values of fun, friendship, and community, and one of the best ways to experience all three is through an activity so many of us enjoy during these months: travel. Whether to visit family in another state, to nearby beaches or mountains, or across oceans, it’s is a wonderful opportunity to expose our kids to new places and people. For most children the experience of navigating new environments can be particularly beneficial, providing important practice in flexibility, interpersonal skills, and confidence that they can bring back to school in the fall. 

Read More

Top 10 Pearls of Wisdom from Jackie. (Do you have your own Top 10?)

Top 10 Pearls of Wisdom from Jackie.  (Do you have your own Top 10?)

At the Meeting House, we pride ourselves on being able to translate the theories of social-emotional learning into practical teachings that make sense for kids in the real world. Social-emotional learning is only valuable if kids can then apply it in their lives outside the classroom or our program, and just like anything else, practice makes perfect. With that in mind, every week our Clinical Director, Jackie Covell, has been sharing tips for parents on ways to practice the skills kids are learning at the Meeting House. We’ve compiled the best tips from throughout the year, and share them below as our end-of-the-year gift, and a reminder to keep up the social-emotional skills development over the summer!

Read More

Widening Our Community

Widening Our Community

Any of the kids in our program could tell you that the Meeting House motto is “Fun, Friendship, and Community.” These values are at the core of everything we do, and we take pride in the safe, caring community of students, parents, staff and supporters we’ve created. This year, we’ve had the opportunity to reimagine and enlarge our Meeting House community through our relationship with Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School, a public school in Harlem. Like us, they put social-emotional learning at the center of their educational model, and they also recognize the importance of after school time as an opportunity for kids to explore interests, practice social and emotional skills, and build self esteem. They’re an exemplary model of how powerful an impact these types of changes can have on a school.

Read More

Staying Cool at TMH Juniors

Staying Cool at TMH Juniors

We shook things up this week and spent the whole afternoon outside in the backyard at Parkside and couldn't have asked for a better afternoon! It was hot but we took advantage of the shade, ate some ice pops and filled up some water balloons to try and fight off the heat. I'm pretty sure one of the highlights was that everyone got to help us fill up the water balloons using the Pumponator. One of the most impressive parts of the whole afternoon was how the kids resisted their overwhelming urge to throw their water balloons once they were filled up! We're not sure we could have been so good about resisting the urge as they were!

Read More

Celebrating Motherly Love at The Meeting House

Celebrating Motherly Love at The Meeting House

Dear Friends,

This week I wanted to salute all of our parents, but especially the mothers (sorry dads) in honor of the tradition of Mother’s Day.  While some people claim it’s a Hallmark holiday and others feel sad because they miss their own mothers, I can’t help feeling personally gratified when each year I received those hand made cards and notes from my own children. For that reason, this week’s note focuses on you - Meeting House mothers.  

Read More

A Place to Grow at TMH Juniors

A Place to Grow at TMH Juniors

Another great day in the books at TMH Juniors! We were all very thankful for the warm and dry weather today so we could go out to the backyard and release some of our energy. It really is amazing to see how the kids play with each other during this free time and how kids are drawn into activities that they haven't been comfortable with in the past because they want to be with their friends.  

Read More

Exploring Mindfulness, One Breath at a Time

Exploring Mindfulness, One Breath at a Time

Mindfulness is a hot topic these days, as more and more people search for ways to ease the stresses of everyday life. Current research increasingly shows the benefits of mindfulness meditation practice. This month, Laurie M. Scherer, a doctoral student in child psychology who specializes in mind-body practices, is offering a program at the Meeting House introducing the basics of mindfulness. We sat down with Laurie to learn more about the motivation behind her program and why it’s important for children to learn about mindfulness.

Read More

A Good Day For Play

A Good Day For Play

Another great week in the books at TMH Juniors. We took advantage of the beautiful weather and the backyard at Parkside and let the kids play outside instead of doing hangout and snack in our usual place. They LOVED every minute of it and it was wonderful seeing them all engaged in imaginary play, throwing and kicking balls and running around playing catch with each other. It's so rewarding to watch the friendships grow throughout the year and to see them play in different environments so smoothly. As long last the weather cooperates, we will be spending some time outside each afternoon for the rest of the year.

Read More

A Roundup of Fun & Friendship

A Roundup of Fun & Friendship

As we enter our last 9 weeks of the year, we are working on ways to challenge the kids socially and use all of the skills we have taught them to overcome these challenges. Today, we introduced a new part of Kite Club which was to be able to identify and share at least one wonderful thing that happened to them during the day. It didn't come so naturally to everyone but with a little bit of prompting, everyone was able to share at least one wonderful thing during their day. This is something you can do with your kids each and every day - ask them about something great that happened to them.  

Read More

TMH Blueprint of Peace

TMH Blueprint of Peace

In last week’s blog we shared Jennifer Freed’s “formula” for social-emotional learning: attitude + harmony = achievement. The second component, harmony, is the focus of Jennifer’s newest book, PeaceQ, a guide to developing the capacity to be peaceful in all aspects of life. “It’s up to all of us to be active, conscious and kind so that we craft a future where everyone feels safe and welcome,” Jennifer said. This belief is behind not only her book, but also AHA! Peacebuilders -- a program that trains teens in restorative practices, compassionate communication, positive inclusive language, and other skills -- as well as the PeaceQ web application, which helps Peacebuilders put what they’ve learned into practice and measure it in their communities. In the past two years, more than 170 teens have been trained through the Peacebuilders program, who, in turn, have reached out to over 7,000 others.

Read More

Jennifer Freed’s SEL Formula: Attitude, Harmony, Achievement

Jennifer Freed’s SEL Formula: Attitude, Harmony, Achievement

Just as we do at the Meeting House, Jennifer Freed believes that social and emotional skills are critical to a child’s ability to succeed in school, build healthy relationships, and develop a strong sense of self-esteem. Unfortunately, these skills take a backseat in our traditional education system. In 1999, Jennifer and a colleague founded AHA! -- which stands for attitude, harmony, and achievement -- as a way to empower teens to create “peaceful and connected communities” and as a means of closing the achievement gap.

Read More

The Power of the Expressive Arts

The Power of the Expressive Arts

At the Meeting House, making friends and building a community that is caring and respectful are at center of all that we do. Together with our students and art teacher Vin Buchan, we create a space full of attachment and warmth, where love is the guiding principle and all are encouraged to have fun, develop and maintain attachments to friends, and express themselves in a safe and stimulating environment.

Read More

The New Fundamentals: Social-Emotional Skills

The New Fundamentals: Social-Emotional Skills

From social interactions, to the workplace, to our political systems, we live in a world that is changing rapidly and it’s becoming more and more clear that to thrive we need an updated toolkit. At the Meeting House we believe that social-emotional skills are the new fundamentals, and we feel fortunate to have the opportunity to start working with children on these invaluable skills at an early age. Only by developing and relying on our emotional intelligence are we able to confront the constant updates, innovations, and evolutions that characterize our world today. And only if we collectively strengthen our social-emotional skills as communities and societies, will we be able to look past our differences, approach one another with empathy, and work together to solve the biggest challenges of our times with ingenuity and flexibility.

Read More