For Immediate Release: June 2, 2014
Secretary of Education, Matthew Malone, is scheduled to visit the Field Elementary School in Weston, MA on June 4, 2014, to see Open Circle in action at the school. Open Circle is a social and emotional learning program for students in kindergarten through grade 5, and it’s aimed at providing children with the skills they need to recognize and successfully manage their emotions, develop positive relationships, make responsible decisions, and constructively handle challenging situations. The Field Elementary School began implementing Open Circle in 2007. During the scheduled meeting with Secretary Malone, one or two selected teachers will demonstrate an Open Circle Meeting.
An Open Circle Meeting is held at least twice a week at a participating school and lasts for about 15 minutes. Teachers bring students into a circle of chairs with one empty seat, symbolizing there is always room for another person or voice in the circle. These meetings include a range of activities, such as group discussions, calm breathing techniques, role-playing, high quality children’s literature, and community-building activities. The accessible lessons allow teachers and students to bring in their own voices to address conflicts or talk about difficult subjects such as peer exclusion, teasing, or bullying.
"It's made the classroom community come together, be more at ease, and I think to be kinder and nicer to one another and show more respect," said Michelle Scott, a fifth grade teacher at Field Elementary School. “Open Circle has helped my social and emotional wellbeing, too. I can use those calm breathing techniques on days where nothing goes as planned. You just take a step back and a few deep breaths and things are going to work out and be OK, or realize that it's not such a big deal in the great scheme of things.”
Open Circle is a program of the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College. To date, Open Circle has reached over two million students and 13,000 educators in over 300 schools in more than 100 urban, suburban, and rural communities across the United States.
The Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College is one of the largest gender-focused research-and-action organizations in the world. Scholars at the Centers conduct social science research and evaluation, develop theory and publications, and implement training and action programs on issues that put women’s lives and women’s concerns at the center. Since 1974, WCW’s work has generated changes in attitudes, practices, and public policy. For more information, visit www.open-circle.org.