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Social Emotional Learning

The importance of emotional intelligence in the development of the child has always been recognized at The Willows. Character and heart are emphasized as essential to The Willows' definition of a 'great mind.' Emotional intelligence, the ability to mange one's own emotions and perceive the emotions of others, has been proven to improve academic and classroom performance, health, success, and conflict resolution.

For 10 years, since 2014, The Willows has integrated the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence RULER systemic approach to social emotional learning (SEL) throughout our school community. RULER is imbued in the life and culture of our school. 

Our educational program places emphasis on knowing yourself, cultivating empathy, and promoting well-being for our students, parents, and extended community through life skills classes, service-learning projects, and visiting speakers, we enrich the lives of our students and in partnership with our parents continue to grow in our self-knowledge, parenting principles, and promotion of understanding and well-being across our campus.

Annually our Ideas@TheWillows Speaker Series offers highly qualified Social Emotional professionals to inspire and educate our community including Marc Brackett, Ph.D. Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence; Dr. Lisa Damour, Clinical Psychologist, and New York Times monthly columnist; and Michael Thompson, Ph.D., acclaimed psychologist and consultant.

View our upcoming speakers

Marc Brackett, Isis Ginyard, Lisa Rosenstein pose for picture  at The Willows, a private school in Los Angeles
Dr. Michael Thompson speaking  at The Willows, a private school in Culver City
Dr. Lisa Damour Speaks to parents  at The Willows, a school in Los Angeles
Dr. Marc Brackett speaks to parents  at The Willows, a school in Los Angeles
Cover of Emotional Intelligence Book at The Willows, a private school in Los Angeles

RULER is one of the many tools that enhance our teaching practices and the academic performance and self-regulation of our students. In addition to RULER, we offer a comprehensive approach to sustain and build the emotional intelligence and well-being of our students.

RULER Mood Meter  at The Willows, a private school in Los Angeles

RULER @ The Willows

Everyone, children, or adults, need social skills, self-control, and empathy to navigate our connected society. With RULER, students, teachers, and staff are asked to develop strategies for regulating emotions such as meditation, deep breathing, physical activity, visualization, and journaling. Regulating personal emotions is an often difficult but necessary positive step in attaining greater emotional intelligence. Students with strong emotional intelligence are better prepared to handle interactions with the world around them and to focus, learn, and thrive at school, at home, and in society.

Image of The Willows Community School school counselor, Los Angeles


Maddison Besser, School Counselor

Ruler in the Classroom

1st Grade Best Selves

Kindergarten Best Selves

Middle School Abstract Feeling Words

Middle School RULER Character Analysis

DK Mood Meter

Middle School Abstract Feeling Words

Lower Elementary Feeling Self-Portraits

Middle School Identity Masks

How we feel affects our learning, the decisions we make, how we treat others, and our personal well-being.

Yale Center of Emotional intelligence RULER