MASON CITY, Iowa - As another school year comes into view, Newman Catholic students will notice a slight change in their curriculum when they walk through the doors again.
Students in all grades, Preschool through 12th, will be utilizing Friendzy, a social and emotional learning program. Social and emotional learning focuses on 5 core competencies, including self awareness and management, responsible decision making, social awareness and relationship skills. Not only is Friendzy set up as a class of its own, but lessons will also be sprinkled into other courses.
Student services director Vicki Ries notes that being away from school and friends for so long may some adverse effects on a child, and Friendzy can help with that.
"We know being face to face now after the change in routine and schedules it will be difficult for them. But we will help them make some connections off the bat. We had a lot of teaching changes this summer so that the teachers can be in a good place and build a strong foundation for them."
In addition, the program is aimed to carry these skills not just through their school years, but also long after graduation.
"Whether it's testing anxiety or change of the schedule due to COVID, or maybe it's social emotional issues with friends, relationship issues. We're going to be teaching these skills so they can have a backpack, if you will, of strategies."
Research from the Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) shows that this model of learning benefits students in better academic performance, improved attitutdes, and reduced emotional stress like depression, anxiety and social withdrawal.