SADDLE BROOK, N.J. – Three months ago, the Saddle Brook school district was making steady progress toward social and emotional learning as part of a district initiative.
In-class yoga, mindfulness mantras and coping strategies for anxiety were part of the daily routine.
Then came the pandemic.
Virtual learning separated children from schoolmates and teachers as the National Alliance on Mental Illness and other health experts noted a surge in stress and depression. Next came the killing of George Floyd and racial tensions that heightened anxiety for many families.
“I’m glad that we were in front of social and emotional learning, that we had this wellness initiative in place, because we had already been talking about it and doing it,” Superintendent Danielle Shanley said.
To address a complicated new reality, the entire faculty worked together to keep social and emotional learning at the forefront.
“My concern was the kids