“We are lifelong learners, working to build a more peaceful world.”
Social-emotional health is an essential foundation of a child’s education, and the staff at Lakeland is committed to the health, well-being and safety of every student. To this end, the Second Step program is embedded within each grade level, and includes age-appropriate lessons to prevent bullying as well as to teach the foundations of social-emotional health and personal safety.
Along with this important curriculum, Social Work at Lakeland includes advocacy for students and support for families in varying states of need, as well as support and professional development for teachers. This may include individual or group sessions with students in school, as well as support for families navigating other community support systems.
Other Social Work programs, like The Backpack Program, address the immediate needs of many students by filling their backpacks every Friday with a bag of healthy meals for the weekend. The Backpack Program is a community partnership opportunity offered through The Manna Food Project and includes many local businesses who donate fresh food, hold fundraising events and/or make annual donations. We are grateful for the partnerships with Altonen Farm, UnderToe Farm, Royal Farms, Providence Organic Farm, King’s Orchard, Townline Cider, Short’s Brewery, Village Market, the Lions Club and several area churches.
Finally, but not exhaustively, the entire Lakeland staff continues on a years-long journey of becoming Trauma-Informed through the work and training led by our Elementary School Social Worker, Samantha Abeel, as well as partnerships with area organizations dedicated to student well-being and safety. Trauma in childhood can include any ongoing events that may be significant to a child’s feelings of safety. This may include things like divorce or separation, fear for loved ones who may be affected by addiction or depression, and other more infrequent high-stress events. Teachers learn to recognize and respond to students experiencing ongoing trauma, with the goal of supporting students in a way that reduces stress and negative impact.
Lakeland staff recognizes social-emotional intelligence as a foundational part of curriculum, in that social-emotional well-being has broad positive impact including cognitive access to learning and academic success. In this way, every child at Lakeland benefits from the integration of academics and social work programs.