The Whole Child & Social Emotional Learning


    Parents often ask how VHE supports “The Whole Child”. This phrase is popular among experts in education, parenting, and medicine. Fortunately, it is also a stated priority of our new Superintendent to focus on “the Whole Child.” As your Principal, I would like to share with you my thoughts, beliefs and efforts to support the whole child at VHE, which begins with creating a child-friendly school where kids are happy, safe, and healthy.

    1. First and foremost, we believe that school should be a safe place for kids. We work diligently with the faculty and staff at VHE to ensure that our students are consistently well supervised and monitored. For example, our children are not allowed to walk outside on the VAHI campus without an adult. In the youngest grades, students walk with a peer buddy to various locations inside the school building.
    2. We believe that children should receive love and care at school. This is initially evident when students step off the bus, out of their cars or enter the building as they are greeted with a smile, a wave or a hug, which clearly lets them know that caring adults are waiting for them. We make every effort to know the names of all of our VAHI students. Yes!  All 530 of them!
    3. We believe that our elementary school building should be bright, inviting, clean and well organized. Children and parents notice that the VHE classrooms and hallways bulletin boards are bright and colorful and include high quality, stimulating student work samples.
    4. We believe in supporting all of the various individual needs of our students. At VAHI, we have a very diverse student body that requires that we provide programming and support to ensure that all of our students, regardless of their needs, have the opportunity to achieve at the highest level.
    5. We will incorporate the 5 competencies of SEL, which will focus on Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Skills and Responsible Decision Making. 

    It is with great privilege and responsibility that my staff and I balance these aspects of your child’s development:

    • Academic
    • Safety
    • Social
    • Emotional
    • Cognitive
    • Physical

    Take a moment to look at our standards for SEL below.  We hope you will read the information below to better understand what we have put in place to support the Whole Child at Virginia-Highland Elementary. 

    Terry Harness



SEL at Virginia-Highland ES

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