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FernLeaf students engage in daily exercises for social and emotional learning and mindfulness.


We believe gratitude and mindfulness are key to happiness and understanding. In addition to academic fluency, our students become thoughtful, compassionate and engaged. 


FernLeaf is guided by our mission in everything we do. Our teachers weave components of the mission into lessons and encourage student discussions in how they have interacted with aspects of the mission in their lives.

High-quality educators are aware of what’s happening around them and inside of them. Mindfulness practices build our capacity for increasing awareness. Furthermore, mindfulness is a reliable foundation that supports all of the core aspects of FernLeaf such as:


  • community-building

  • thoughtfulness

  • engagement

  • compassion

  • equity work

  • social-emotional competency

  • environmental stewardship

FernLeaf educators stoke their own curiosity about mindfulness by attending trainings, asking questions, joining with our community practices and initiating habits that support mindfulness in our own lives. Once those steps are undertaken, then we have the privilege to model these practices for our students and their families.  

Mindfulness can be practiced at any moment in our busy lives whenever we remember to return to the present moment. In this way, mindfulness remains active and highly relevant in the lives of educators and students. Also, because mindfulness brushes against our habituated response of nearly constant distraction, we are encouraged to set aside a few moments on a consistent basis to practice in a more formal way. 


These formal practices typically involve focused attention on the breath or on the body, and they serve to infuse mindfulness throughout the rest of our day. While FernLeaf does not mandate personal practice, all of us commit to sharing mindful experiences with our students. Furthermore, we are expected to grow the fruits that are typically associated with mindfulness: greater self-awareness, emotional regulation, concentration and empathy. 


Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) can easily become sidetracked within educational institutions, but here at FernLeaf SEL is a foundational practice that complements, not competes with, academic rigor.


As a core project within our community, stakeholders are invited to investigate and practice the skills and mindsets needed for emotional regulation, conflict resolution, compassion, problem solving, identity formation, value creation and social justice. 


Our daily SEL activities not only connect body, heart, and mind, they magnify the webs of relationships that link us as individuals to all of the other subjects within the cosmos. A deep understanding of these vast networks of community quite naturally sparks awe and accelerates the pursuit of wisdom. That is why SEL is central to all that we do.

Examples of integrating SEL into life at FernLeaf:

1) Morning SEL meetings

2) Wednesday morning mindfulness - (Older children become Mindful Leaders for younger kids)

3) Rights, respect and responsibility curriculum

4) SEL lessons (individual, small group and large group) offered by the school counselor

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