Mid Florida

SEL Finds a Home in Head Start Classrooms

An opposing pair of yellow quotation marks.
A kid will say, ‘Look, I'm making good choices! Did Jaycee see me?’

Caroline Hamilton, Teacher

Anna and Charlie share a duplex with a hamster. Jaycee and Matthew’s pink house was inspired by Dr. Seuss. And Charlie and Lola’s condo features owls and a chandelier. Each of these cozy domiciles is tucked safely in one of Mid Florida Community Services’ (MFCS) 20 Head Start classrooms.

MFCS Head Start teachers extend social-emotional learning throughout the day by making houses for their Second Step puppets, from which the puppets observe students’ positive behavior. ”A kid will say, ’Look, I’m making good choices! Did Jaycee see me?’” says teacher Caroline Hamilton with a smile.

Besides coming out to teach Second Step lessons and providing positive feedback from their homes, the puppets become an integral part of the classroom culture, says MFCS Education Manager Damaris Conner. ”They know the puppet is sad or it’s happy, and they want to help them or they want to sing songs to the puppets. It’s very interactive teaching that we have in the classroom with Second Step.”