An integral aspect to any Middle School program is a focus on Social Emotional Learning. This year, the BFS Middle School is in partnership with ‘DBT in Schools’—which offers resources and teachings focused on skills particularly useful to adolescents in exploring their sense of self, facing challenges in managing difficult emotions, mitigating impulsiveness in decision making, and navigating interpersonal challenges. Through the advisory program, students are engaged in weekly lessons on mindfulness skills, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and dialectics.
Drawing inspiration from our SEL curriculum, this week many of our eighth graders—under the direction of Middle and Upper School Visual Arts Teacher Tina Piccolo—completed their Dialectical Learning Paintings with artist statements.
“The formal artistic learning was to translate a current emotion or experience into a symbolic combination of found images that could communicate a new meaning,” Tina explained. “The students discussed some of the Elements of Design such as emphasis and repetition, by learning how to manipulate and arrange the foreground, middle ground and background of their collages. They mixed and matched oil colors, applying a layer of paint over its surface, which unified the entire image. Finally, the students were asked to narrate their paintings in words with an artist’s statement.” You can enjoy their powerful work HERE.
The artwork is just one aspect of how impactful the SEL work in our Middle School has been this year at Brooklyn Friends. More to come!
“Our child-centered values-based program in the Middle School is taking on new life as we continue to navigate the pandemic,” shares BFS Head of Middle School Nitya York. “As any New Yorker can attest, the pandemic shed light on how important our mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing are to our overall success. This balance of centering children’s wellbeing amidst a rigorous academic program preparing them for Upper School is what makes our Middle School colleague-body so unique and special.”