Social-Emotional Learning

Wayfinder To Expand SEL and Purpose Learning Curricula into Elementary Market

K–12 social-emotional learning provider Wayfinder said today that after a year of feedback from educators on its pilot programs for elementary students, the company is adding K–5 SEL and “purpose learning” curricula to its existing middle- and high-school offerings, starting this fall.

The K–5 curricula is aligned to Common Core and CASEL standards, Wayfinder said in a news release; it emphasizes a “fresh approach, going beyond SEL to bring authenticity, joy, and self-determination to the classroom,” Wayfinder said. Its content — which includes lessons, activities, and resources for students — encourages students to collaborate and practice self-expression.

In a recent evaluation by Dr. Heather Malin of Stanford University’s Center on Adolescence, Wayfinder’s middle- and high-school curricula was found to have improved student outcomes across six areas of SEL, according to the news release: social awareness, identity expression, purpose development, academic engagement, cultural awareness, and belonging. The Wayfinder middle school curriculum emphasizes belonging, while the high school program focuses on students finding purpose, according to Wayfinder’s website.

In addition to educator training and technical support, Wayfinder said its new K–5 offerings will include the following:

  • 20 core curriculum experiential and play-based lessons per year that each require only a few minutes of teacher prep time.
  • An Activity Library with over 200 customizable, exploratory activities for elementary students, searchable by length, skill, grade level, activity type, and more, to help students build SEL skills as they learn and play.
  • Instructional videos to lighten teachers’ loads, help teachers facilitate class discussions, and inspire students.
  • Simplified, printable educator lesson guides that can be implemented in 20-minute blocks or broken up in smaller activities throughout the day.
  • Age-appropriate student toolkits for young learners to reflect, draw, and journal.
  • A full sixth-grade curriculum called “Belonging: Foundations'” with lessons that “foster connections among classmates and help bolster a culture of belonging,” intended to help students transition from elementary to middle school.

“[My students] are not totally bought into SEL, but they loved the [Wayfinder] activities,” said one Massachusetts fourth-grade teacher who participated in the pilot. “They even brought up some good suggestions of how we should be paired with students who are not our friends so we can build trust.”

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About the Author

Kristal Kuykendall is editor, 1105 Media Education Group. She can be reached at [email protected].