Sandy Spring Friends School



Lower School Life-Skills

Our life-skills curriculum develops essential emotional and social learning competencies that  create a respectful and caring classroom community and help students excel.

The Connected and Respected: Lessons from the Resolving Conflict Creatively Program was developed to nourish a respectful and caring classroom community by way of five key themes and through developing essential emotional and social learning competencies. 


Five Key Themes of the Connected and Respected curriculum:
  • Making Connections
  • Emotional Literacy
  • Caring and Effective Communication
  • Cultural Competence and Social Responsibility
  • Conflict Management and Decision Making
Emotional and Social Learning (ESL) Competencies: 
  • Self-Awareness 
  • Social Awareness   
  • Self-Management 
  • Responsible Decision Making
  • Relationship Skills 

The life-skills curriculum is structured in a workshop format that includes the following components: 

  • Gathering: a time for a community-building activity or sharing that focuses students on the purpose of the day’s lesson. 
  • Agenda Check: a review of the plan and expectations for the lesson. The agenda is usually presented in a visual format (on chart paper on the board). 
  • Main Activities: the core of the lesson which involves structured group activities based on the lesson’s subject. 
  • Summary: a recap and review of the lesson to check for understanding and reinforce internalization of the lesson’s message. Discussion questions, art, writing and small-group sharing or reporting are some of the recap exercises that can be incorporated into the Summary. 
  • Closing: a song, quote or exercise to provide closure to the lesson. 
  • Extension and Infusion: reinforcement activities that expand the lesson. Extensions can include additional sharing, art and writing, games and roleplays, as well as opportunities to practice and consider ways to integrate skill practice throughout the school day. 
  • Connecting to Literature: age and level-appropriate books and guided questions that connect the lesson theme and targeted skills.