February 8, 2021Hope and Healing: Social-Emotional Learning in the Junior School

Often during Admissions interviews, we like to ask: why Aberdeen Hall? The response we hear most often relates to the families’ interest in joining a special community, the kind that is unique to independent schools like our own. They like the idea that their child will grow up at a school alongside positive adults and peers, where they are recognized, championed, supported, and loved. Hearts first, then minds.

When we received the announcement in the summer that school would be back onsite in September, we were thrilled! We knew it would be challenging, but we also knew that despite the challenges, it would be tremendous, wonderful, and incredibly important. Our Junior School community had been apart for too long, and we were full of excitement that having everyone together again would fill our buckets with hope and healing.

Our current state of the world has proven to be challenging in so many ways, but we collectively made a decision that we were going to meet these obstacles head on and embrace the positives that are just waiting to be discovered. We teach and encourage a growth mindset each and every day within our school community, and there is no question that this is the time when we need to put this into practice more than ever before. How do we make our student life as vibrant as ever?

How do we show our students that they are physically and emotionally safe? How do we ensure that our students leave every day feeling happy and proud of what they have achieved at Aberdeen Hall? The answer to these questions is that we lead with our hearts. We know that every child in our school is our parents’/ guardians’ most precious commodity, and our goal as educators and leaders is to ensure that every single one of our students feels valued when they walk through our doors. Each student’s social emotional health and well-being is at the forefront of every decision that we make and every conversation that we have.

How are you doing?

Do you have everything that you need to be successful today?

Is there anything we can do to support you?

These are daily conversations that take place in our hallways, and are the foundation for building meaningful, lifelong connections with our student community.

To ensure a safe and welcoming space is created for our young learners, the emphasis on social-emotional learning is intertwined into every facet of life in the Junior School. The “Gryphon Code” is an Aberdeen Hall program that teaches our young Gryphons about the British Columbia Core Competencies. These are sets of intellectual, personal, and social and emotional proficiencies that help our students grow as educated citizens. We believe that students who practice communication skills, are critical thinkers, and demonstrate a strong work ethic, will become strong contributing citizens in their school, in their community and in their surrounding world. Additionally, we support our students’ social-emotional development through our Health and Career Education classes that are based on character education, self-esteem, leadership, and the attributes that make each of our students wonderfully unique. We also offer small-group social-emotional learning sessions to students who need some extra support and attention. We find these sessions to be incredibly rewarding and powerful and ensures that our students have a space where they can express themselves in a comfortable setting.

We sincerely hope that your children have enjoyed their time at school over the past few months, and that you and your family have noticed the healing benefits of having them on campus. We encourage you to reach out and share with us YOUR bright spots; your “WHY” for continuing to be a part of the Aberdeen Hall community! We love having you here.

By: Casey Turnpenny, Junior School Principal & Laura Hazeldine, Junior School Vice Principal.

AdmissionsApplications to Aberdeen Hall are accepted year round and are increasingly competitive.

At Aberdeen Hall, we seek to admit well-rounded students who choose to be at our school. We are looking for students who demonstrate leadership through academic performance, involvement in co-curricular activities and civic engagement. We care about our students and seek those who value education and are prepared to enrich our incredible school community.