JUNEAU — Wisconsin’s First Lady Kathy Evers and representatives from the Office of Children’s Mental Health and Department of Children & Families visited the Dodgeland School District Tuesday to learn about best practices being implemented by the district and Every Child Thrives partners across Dodge and Jefferson counties.
The visit helped to inform Evers’ agenda of supporting the social and emotional needs of young children throughout the state.
The Dodgeland district is one of 30 active partners with Every Child Thrives, a collective impact effort focused on ensuring all children thrive in health, learning and life. ECT receives backbone support from the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation.
During the three-hour visit, Evers and other guests saw social emotional learning in action. They visited 4K classrooms that use the Pyramid Model, a framework of evidence-based practices that includes visuals, routines and playful learning opportunities that support social and emotional skill development. Dodgeland School District is currently one of five sites in the two counties implementing the model, with ECT working to expand to more locations in 2020.
Evers also witnessed first-hand how the playworks active recess model fosters leadership, collaboration and problem-solving skills among students. She also observed a classroom lesson teaching students how to recognize and manage emotions of anxiety. Finally, guests toured the Oasis Room, a space students have access to when they need to take a break to regulate their emotions.
In addition to the learning observations, Evers’ visit also featured discussion on Every Child Thrives’ TalkReadPlay With Your Child Every Day community campaign, which is increasing awareness and sparking positive change to boost early childhood brain and language development. To date, the campaign has more than 500 trusted messengers who are helping to equip parents with the tools needed to be their child’s first and most important teacher.
“The Dodgeland School District is leading the way for school districts across the state in ensuring all children gain the social and emotional skills needed for success in learning and life,” said Tina Crave, president & CEO of the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation. “Through our Every Child Thrives effort, we are proud to support their work in this area, as it is essential for the future health and wellness of our community.”
Dodgeland School District Administrator Annette Thompson, who serves on the Transformation Council for Every Child Thrives, said the school district is grateful for the foundation’s support. “As a result of this support, our staff is empowered to meet the needs of all students, including social and emotional well-being. We know that this work is transformational to a student’s life, and we share a commitment to ensuring every child thrives in learning, in the workplace and in life.”
For more information on the Every Child Thrives effort, visit www.watertownhealthfoundation.com/everychildthrives.