Social Emotional Learning
Our social emotional learning or SEL initiative is led by Chelsea Quereau, JAO’s in-house counselor. The program supports the school’s whole-child development with regular classroom guidance sessions, one-on-one and small group counseling, and parent support.
“A whole-child approach to education is instrumental in raising well-adjusted
children who have self-compassion, the confidence to take on new challenges,
and the resilience to get back up and try again.” My mission here at Jewish
Academy of Orlando is to support the students in their efforts as they learn
and practice these skills to add to their social toolbox
-Chelsea Quereau, JAO Counselor
Led by Ms. Quereau, our weekly class sessions are designed to be developmentally focused with topics tailored to each class’s needs, from personal space and being a good friend to preparing for middle school and setting goals. Each session utilizes a hands-on approach with role-playing of real world situations through group discussions. Various forms of media are often incorporated with each session, including engaging games and books.
After each classroom session, Ms. Quereau communicates the lesson to parents to facilitate reinforcement at home.
Ms. Quereau also brings students together for gatherings which are informal mediation sessions that occur as needed. These small group discussions allow Ms. Quereau to help students navigate peer relationships and to provide conflict resolution in a non-threatening manner. Since the sessions are deliberately impromptu, she is able to offer immediate intervention as problems arise. Small-group sessions also help Ms. Quereau build rapport and connect with students.
“My goal is for the students to do most of the talking. That way, I can truly tailor the sessions to their needs,” added Ms. Quereau.
Ms. Quereau also provides one-on-one counseling to support individual students’ needs. She partners with the student, educators, parents, and administration to ensure each child’s needs are met.
“At Jewish Academy of Orlando, psychoeducation, which is
the interdisciplinary approach that unites educators,
counselors and administration, is key to lay a strong foundation
for social and emotional growth for all students.
The extreme pressure to achieve and perform is pervasive
throughout society and social media. We use psychoeducation
to both build confidence and communication skills. These
are two traits to build resilience in academic and social
-Amy Polacek, Principal
Ms. Quereau is also available to educators and parents on an as needed basis for any concerns or questions that surface. As a licensed social worker, Ms. Quereau is able to refer to outside resources.
“By focusing on the whole child, our families don’t have to make the choice
between strong academics and emotional intelligence.
At JAO, both are a key foci to preparing our students for the world.”
-Chelsea Quereau, JAO Counselor
In addition to Ms. Quereau’s involvement, our school’s dedication to serving the Whole Child and supporting self-care include a recess and breaks throughout the day. These activities are designed to teach students self-care, teamwork, the benefits of brain breaks, and promotes socializing.