Social-Emotional Learning

As part of our commitment to educate the whole child, the Maret social curriculum seeks to develop the social, emotional and physical health of our students. This K-12 program promotes respect for self and others, an appreciation of differences, and empathy


The social curriculum gives students the opportunity to develop leadership skills and a sense of responsibility to these communities. As students grow in their understanding of these issues and develop the related skills, they will be better equipped to lead happy and healthy lives.

The social curriculum addresses:

  • Conflict resolution, bullying
  • Decision-making, Drug and Alcohol Education
  • Relationships, Empathy
  • Connection to the Global Community
  • Nutrition and health
  • Diversity & Stereotypes
  • Sexuality Education
  • Leadership Training

Addressing Bullying

The social curriculum teaches students to identify and address the causes, behaviors and solutions for bullying and harassing behavior. Students learn specific tools that bystanders and targeted victims can use to address bullying behavior. Through real-life scenarios, students recognize the way bullying is different from teasing and the appropriate way to access help and support.

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Lower School

At the beginning of each year, all K–4 students work with their teachers to establish a set of classroom and playground norms of behavior. Through thoughtful and carefully-guided whole-class discussions, students learn how to be a good friend and classmate, why bullying behaviors are wrong, and how to resolve conflicts effectively.

KINDERGARTEN: Kindies are encouraged to be thoughtful about their connections with each other; as their classroom proclaims, “kindies care.” They show their concern for each other by listening attentively, playing games that include whoever wishes to play, and encouraging others to talk about their lives. Using the strategies of Responsive Classroom, teachers encourage students to be aware of self and others, navigate conflicts, and develop empathy.

FIRST GRADE: “Friends First” is first grade’s theme. Throughout the school year, the ideas of friendship and conflict resolution are taught by homeroom teachers and the school psychologist. They share strategies for calming down, identifying emotions, and resolving conflict. Skills learned are reinforced in more traditional academic venues. Students work together to participate in frequent “Readers Theater” presentations, short skits that encourage students to read aloud expressively. The Readers and Writers Workshop models offer many opportunities for students to work together and individually.

SECOND GRADE: Second graders encourage inclusivity in their social interactions and recognize the importance of friendly behaviors. Teachers hold “powwows” to encourage the development of appropriate social interactions. Using the Responsive Classroom curriculum, teachers discuss strategies for social skills that directly affect life at school. Second graders learn the acronym C.A.R.E.S (Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy, and Self-Control) and discuss ways to enact these skills in their everyday lives.

THIRD GRADE: Maret’s third grade theme is “Celebration, Cooperation, Compassion.” Students undergo team-building challenges that reinforce successful collaborative skills. By using games and simulations, teachers and the school psychologist emphasize issues integral to developing healthy friendships. Third graders pay particular attention to situations of bullying behavior and consider what it means to be a bully, a victim, a by-stander, and an “up-stander.”

FOURTH GRADE: In the spring, Debbie Roffman, a nationally renowned sex educator, visits with the fourth grade. The school nurses follow up with talks on body changes, and the science and homeroom teachers continue the discussion. Our partnership with the preschool at Martha’s Table along with our Social Issues Reading unit serve as a springboard for thoughtful conversations about diversity.

Middle School

At the end of each year, citizenship awards are given to a boy and a girl at each grade level; these awards are highly prized and reflect Maret’s core values. Grade-level meetings and smaller advisor group gatherings provide forums for students to gain greater understanding of these values and how to live them actively. In addition, classes and group discussions on human development and social issues are interwoven throughout the middle school program to help adolescents deal with concerns facing them in today’s society.

Human Development

FIFTH GRADE: Fifth graders explore self-awareness as a foundation for being prepared for changes that occur as they grow and develop. Students discuss emotions, self-esteem, teasing, and bullying. They also explore the physical, emotional, and social changes that accompany puberty as they learn about the reproductive systems and how they function.

SIXTH GRADE: Continuing to stress the importance of self-awareness, the program emphasizes friendships, peer dilemmas, peer pressure, and decision-making. Students role-play and discuss situations involving bullying and cyberbullying. Discussions of pregnancy and birth expand upon what was learned in fifth grade. The PBS film Everything You Wanted to Know about Sex but Were Afraid to Ask serves as a focal point for class discussion.

SEVENTH GRADE: Students are divided by gender groups for human development. In this course, class discussions focus on the effects of emotional and physical changes that are occurring in the lives of adolescents and the ways in which we address and cope with those changes. Classes explore sexual growth and development and relationships with parents and friends. Other topics may include stereotypes, body image, substance abuse, media messages, and the importance of developing clear communication skills.

EIGHTH GRADE: Eighth graders study values, emphasizing that the worth and dignity of all individuals. The course continues to explore the more sophisticated themes associated with human growth and development. Small and large group work, class assignments, and videos are used to discuss sexually transmitted infections, substance abuse, relationships, decision making, sexual orientation, gender-based expectations, stereotypes, and digital citizenship.

Upper School

The program helps upper school students develop into adults who will be thoughtful, healthy, empathetic, engaged, and involved in their communities.

We’d like our core values to become second nature to our students. Faculty, administrators, and staff work to ensure that students are respectful of each other and adults; that harassing or offensive comments or acts are recognized, addressed, and corrected; that students are academically honest and understand and avoid plagiarism; that fair play and sportsmanship are encouraged in sporting events; that open debate and differing points of view are respected; and that creativity in the performing, visual, and literary arts is celebrated.

The assembly program enriches and expands students’ exposure to different thoughts, experiences, and realities through outside speakers, films, or performing groups. Students in the Upper School are given increased freedoms as they grow older and are encouraged to take intellectual risks. Students who overextend themselves can alter or reduce their academic or athletic commitments without penalty.

To complement the social emotional learning integrated into the upper school curriculum, the tenth grade Human Sexuality course covers issues about consent and sexual decision-making. In addition, each year at an upper school assembly, a guest speaker presents to the ninth through twelfth grades addressing issues of sexuality and consent.