Community Resources

Social-Emotional Learning

CARE Corner

Welcome to our Compassion, Accountability, Respect & Empathy (CARE) page! WSMF recognizes the significant importance of social and emotional learning (SEL) for all our students and we are thrilled to be expanding our program. The CARE program, originally designed as a mindfulness class in the grades, is led by Mrs. Branigan Reed (1st grade teacher and SEL Specialist). If you have suggestions, questions, or want to get involved, please don’t hesitate to email Mrs. Reed at

Why is SEL Important?

There is a great deal of research being done that shows the benefits of intentional implementation of SEL curriculum. Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the leading innovators of social-emotional Learning for over 20 years documents this research on their website. A few notable statistics include:

  • “57% more students in schools with an SEL program improved their skills compared to students in schools without an SEL program, 27% more improved their academic performance, and 24% more improved their emotional well-being and social behavior.” See full study here:
  • “SEL programming can have a positive impact up to 18 years later on academics, conduct problems, emotional distress, and drug use.” See 2017 Meta-analysis of 82 studies of 100,000 students here:

What is CARE Class at WSMF?

Students in grades 1-8 will have integrated lessons and activities that highlight a shared monthly theme. Class teachers and subject teachers will intentionally bring activities that will develop social-emotional skills while partnering with the existing curriculum of each grade. Lessons will have aspects of story and art, movement, and service as part of the regular rhythm of each monthly focus area. In addition, we have created a special tab on our website (which you are visiting now!) that will include weekly CARE corner updates, mindful movement videos, and invitations for families to participate in the monthly projects. We are also working to build a resource library that can be useful to families seeking support for a wide range of social-emotional needs. 

Learn More About Mrs. Branigan Reed

Before Mrs. Reed joined the Waldorf School in 2016, she spent 8 years taking up many diverse roles at Prospect Hill Academy Charter School in Somerville, MA. Much of her work with colleagues and students surrounded social dynamics, self-development, social awareness, and community-building. She worked with middle school students to develop student-written, socially-conscious, devised theatre performances during both after-school and summer programs. As the K-3 Family Engagement Campus Leader, she facilitated parent education workshops on Temperaments, Communication, Mindful Listening, and Wellness to complement the work she was leading in the student community. During her time in special education at the school, she focused primarily on behavioral and self-regulation support for students. More recently, Mrs. Reed became a certified yoga teacher and Wellness Champion through Breathe for Change. This is the only program of its kind, a 200-hour intensive training designed specifically for educators. Through this transformative experience, her “tool kit” for SEL has grown, in addition to her passion for community and collaboration. Each of these experiences, as well as the countless others they exist among, share the values of human connection, understanding, and wellness.


This Week’s

Mindfulness Moment


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November 2020


Our theme this month is Gratitude.

In such tumultuous times, cultivating gratitude can ease stress, promote positivity, and bring peace to weary minds and bodies. We’d like to invite you to join our wave of gratitude by sharing something you are grateful for. All contributions will be added to our gratitude tree located in the entrance hall of our school, so that students and faculty can experience its growth each day! I will share pictures with the community so that you too can witness the beauty of a grateful community.

Family Invitation

Please share your gratitudes with me directly via email to by November 30, 2020.

I am happy to begin by sharing my gratitude first: I am grateful for this amazing community of loving, innovative, and kind individuals.

Wishing you well,

Branigan Reed
First Grade Class Teacher, SEL Specialist

December 2020

Dear WSMF Families,

This past week, we entered into the month of December and our youngest children will participate in the Spiral of Light this coming weekend. This festival provides an opportunity for each of us to engage in quiet self-reflection and meditation as we enter into the darkest days of the year. Some of the many questions we, as adults, may consider are: How can I keep my inner light aglow? What feeds my inner development? How do I want to nourish myself this winter? This month’s theme of Striving gives us an opportunity to explore those questions and more as we engage in activities that help us to both reflect and look ahead to where we want to move toward.

Because we are unable to come together for a community spiral this year, you are invited to participate in a virtual project that will collect and share our community strivings. Using a helpful web tool called Flipgrid, each member of our community is invited to record a short video where you can share a word or phrase describing your personal striving for this year. Feel free to hold a candle in your recording so that we can share our light with each other. Student emails should be accepted at log-in and there is a password that parents can use to participate as well. Please use the following information to participate.
Password: Spiral2020

Check back in on the link throughout the month of December as we grow our spiral by sharing our intentions with each other. Always remember: the light, love, student & teacher in me, recognizes the light, love, student & teacher in you.

Creating your own spiral at home could be another family activity you might choose to participate in. For a more traditional spiral, you will need evergreen boughs or branches, candles, apples, and perhaps some shells, stones & crystals to decorate as you wish. Feel free to make it your own and create the spiral on a beach with driftwood, or decorate with flowers. Make this tradition meaningful for you and your family. We’d love to see how you choose to celebrate, so please share pictures with us!

January 2021

Dear WSMF Families,

Happy New year! During the month of January, we will be focusing on the theme of Compassion during our social-emotional learning time. Compassion for oneself and others is so important, particularly as we navigate these challenging times. A wide range of feelings and emotions may appear and shift from moment to moment; we all come with our own opinions and perspectives with regard to many different topics. Those differences can cultivate a great deal of growth and learning for each of us because when we approach each other with compassion, we are open to interesting conversations and experiences we might never expect.

One way to show compassion for yourself is to set aside as little as one hour a week to save for you and you alone. During that time you may nap, read a book, watch a show, paint, hike, take a bath, practice yoga, or engage in any other activity that nourishes you. Making yourself a priority consistently will fill your bucket, and help you engage in the world as you want to.

In order to show compassion toward others, we will be participating in two projects this month. You are invited to participate as well if you feel so inclined:

  • Project 1: Make a winter bird feeder to show compassion to the many species of birds that stick around all winter long. Easily obtained food can be a huge help to our animal friends, and provide awesome opportunities for bird watching in our own back yard.  Instructions can be found here.

  • Project 2: Make “thinking of you” cards for local retirement, nursing & veterans homes. After the holidays, and especially during this time of social distancing thinking of folks who may be in need of 

Wishing you warmth & peace as the new year begins!


Branigan Reed
First Grade Class Teacher, SEL Specialist

March 2021

Dear WSMF Families,

As we enter into the winter thaw, and eventually spring blooms, we begin to shift our focus from inward striving, to a renewal of our gesture of reaching out to others in our circles. To support this shift, we will be engaging with the theme of Communication throughout the month of March. Your invitation this month is to engage in an activity called the Peace Process. Modeled after Nonviolent Communication principles, this versatile process is appropriate to use as both a conflict-resolution tool, and a way of giving positive praise. By allowing individuals to communicate without blame or accusation, situations can be worked through with openness. Below I will share the steps of the process as well as examples of different ways it can be implemented. This feelings inventory may be helpful as you practice at home.

Peace Process for Conflict:

  • Step 1: Tell what happened with specifics.
  • Step 2: Tell how this made you feel, using one or two feeling words. (This feelings inventory can be helpful.
  • Step 3: Say what you needed, but were not getting when this happened. 
  • Step 4: Make a request that will help the situation get better. 


(Step 1) Today you did not prepare lunch when you said you would. (Step 2) This made me feel frustrated (Step 3) because I had planned to do something else during that time and had to prepare lunch instead. (Step 4) Would you be willing to let me know ahead of time if you will not be able to follow through with a plan?

Peace Process for Praise:

  • Step 1: Tell what happened.
  • Step 2: Tell how this made you feel, using one or two feeling words. 
  • Step 3: Say what need was being met for you.
  • Step 4: Express your appreciation.


(Step 1:) This morning you cleaned your room. (Step 2:) This made me feel appreciated and listened to (Step 3:) because I needed your help. (Step 4) Thank you for doing your part.

The better we are able to communicate with each other by expressing our feelings, listening to the needs of others, and working collaboratively to work through problems, the more positive our interactions with the world become.  As always, if you have any questions about the process or how to use it, feel free to reach out to me.

Wishing you warm words and an open heart!

Branigan Reed
First Grade Class Teacher, SEL Specialist

April 2021

Dear WSMF Families,

I hope you are enjoying the warmth and beauty of these early weeks of spring. This month I felt called to shift my plans for our SEL theme and was inspired by personal events, to offer the theme of  Inner Knowing for the month of April. Things happen in our lives each day. Events that bring us joy, and situations that cause us worry. In order to manage our feelings and interactions with others during these occurrences, and all those in between, we must trust ourselves to know what it is that we need to move forward. What it is that we need to heal. What it is that we need to support each other. 

I’d like to share a story with you…

When I was an undergraduate student at Emerson College, Bob Colby, Performing Arts Chair, was also my Theatre for Young Audiences teacher. In Bob’s TYA class, my urge to never “dumb down” theatre for children was reinforced, my desire to meet the needs of all different types of children was honored and supported, my desire to challenge the status quo was cheered, and my mistakes were named and collaborated on to get better each time. I remember one class in particular- something unrelated to TYA came up and Bob said something that has stuck with me: “You can never control how others treat you. What you can control is how you respond.” Some 12 years later I still repeat this phrase to myself every day. It was a HUGE a-ha moment for me. I believe it is the moment that set me on the path to the SEL and wellness impulses I am so passionate about integrating into all my work today. 

Bob also directed me in a production of The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes at The Cutler Majestic Theatre while I was at Emerson, which is just so fitting for what he stood for. Speaking up when someone is mistreated, and being brave in the face of adversity. These are both lessons I hope to teach each student I am lucky enough to work with.

On Monday, April 5, Bob Colby passed away after losing his battle with pancreatic cancer.

My Inner Knowing has guided me to engage in a project that honors the gifts Bob Colby left to us all through his passion, joy, and love for young people. Throughout this month I will be working with groups of students to create our own hundred dresses for Mr. Colby to thank him for how special he has been to me and to so many others. I openly invite anyone who wishes to join me in this project to do so- create a dress of your choice while listening to Eleanor Estes’ story read aloud on our page, and send me a picture of your completed project.  I will share pictures of our work with Bob’s family to bring them comfort in this time, so that they too can know just how loved he truly was, and will be for generations.

Branigan Reed
First Grade Class Teacher, SEL Specialist

May 2021

Coming Soon

June 2021

Coming Soon