In the weeks leading up to the longed-for summer break, the consortium partners met in a consortium workshop to discuss the steps to be taken in view of the reopening of schools this fall. Partners focused on the development of the so-called service model, which consists of a model to assist the schools in organising Social and Emotional Learning Work in schools.
A 5-step process was presented to effectively implement SEL work in intervention schools next school year:
- Step 1 – Leadership in Social and Emotional Learning work at school;
- Step 2 – SEL status: Map current needs and strengths;
- Step 3 – SEL future: Identify and prioritize goals and values;
- Step 4 – Schools work with SEL: make a plan for work;
- Step 5 – Set into motion.
The discussion between the partners highlighted the necessity to adopt and pursue a whole school approach, one of the milestones of the BOOST project, drawing attention to the interactions between all school staff (principals, teachers, assistants, etc.), children, and parents. To make this approach practical, it is essential to have flexibility: it will ensure that the model can be absorbed and implemented by schools located in different social, economic and cultural contexts, and work on these steps in a dynamic, circular, and iterative way. Depending on the characteristics of school systems, the BOOST project will provide the schools’ staff with examples and tools to guide them towards the most suitable and comprehensive methods. In addition, it was stressed that the pursuit of this approach should be combined with a person-centred approach, which is paramount to building mental health wellbeing and resilience in children successfully.
Based on these assumptions, the partners are carefully planning the work for the next school year, hoping that there will be a definitive return to a physical school in all countries involved in the project. The new school year for the intervention schools should start with the presentation of the new iteration of BOOST (we talked about it here), developed on the feedback received from the schools in the past months. This new version of BOOST does not distort the basic principles of the approach but aims to facilitate and make its implementation more accessible in different school systems. The BOOST team will work in synergy with schools on this path through regular meetings and exchanges with schools in the following months.