The Montessori School of Raleigh (MSR) is partnering again this year with The Social Institute, a leader in social media education and social-emotional learning. The curriculum, #WinAtSocial, is designed to support families and help students navigate social-emotional health and technology in positive, high-character ways. In alignment with the Montessori approach to educating and preparing the whole child, MSR has implemented the #WinAtSocial curriculum for the past two years as part of the Middle and Upper School advisory experience each month.
This year, MSR is incorporating the #WinAtSocial curricular supplement into its Upper Elementary (UE) technology classes, providing age-appropriate lessons that will help students in grades four through six build emotional awareness and resilience through engaging, gamified lessons.
The Social Institute's #WinAtSocial Program
The Social Institute’s #WinAtSocial program was created in collaboration with student leaders across the country and The Social Institute’s Research Advisory Committee, a group of psychologists and social-emotional learning experts. With a mission to offer “a gamified, online learning platform that empowers students to navigate their social world positively — including social media and technology — to fuel their health, happiness, and future success,” the program, in keeping with the Montessori Method, provides interactive, collaborative, and technology-friendly experiences to students. Lessons are designed to “empower and equip rather than scare and restrict” with topics that include:
- Reflecting our values, character, and interests in our actions online.
- Balancing our time and attention on tech with the people around us.
- Surrounding ourselves with positive and credible influences.
- Using social media as a microphone to create meaningful change.
- Finding your own path no matter the pressure from others.
- Responding positively to relevant and trending current events.
During the October #WinAtSocial advisory in MSR’s Middle School, students in seventh and eighth grade engaged in a conversation about how Halloween costumes may or may not respect cultures and backgrounds different from their own. An interactive, online survey asked students to consider if their costume might hurt anyone’s feelings or if they would be comfortable if a photo of them in that costume appeared on social media. The conversation in one advisory turned to the intention of one’s costume and explored the distinction between portraying a character versus portraying a culture. In another advisory, a robust discussion about cultural appropriation and stereotyping ensued.
In the Upper School advisories, students discussed stress and explored strategies to help them handle and reduce stress. The #WinAtSocial Upper Elementary curriculum will engage students in lessons including how to balance time on devices and how to build a positive reputation one choice at a time.
When asked how they felt about the #WinAtSocial program, Middle School students shared that it has helped them “see both sides of social media – the good and the bad.” While some students said they didn’t like social media, through their #WinAtSocial experience they have learned that it can be a good thing “providing a platform for people who might not have a voice otherwise.” Other students noted that it was helping them navigate social media more safely and with a greater understanding of the impacts, positive and negative, social media can have on them and others.
The #WinAtSocial program also has a parent component and Parent Toolkit which offers supplementary resources providing insight into social media, technology, student experiences, family discussion prompts, and real-time information about what their child is discussing in the classroom.
MSR’s partnership with The Social Institute is another way The Montessori School of Raleigh fulfills its mission to “develop agile thinkers, poised communicators, and gracious collaborators” who are the engineers of authentic and fulfilling lives.
For more about the Montessori Method at MSR, visit Our Montessori Method.