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Sacramento Country Day School

Social Emotional Learning

At Sacramento Country Day School, young students have opportunities to develop all facets of their character.

Responsive Classroom is an evidence-based approach to teaching and discipline that focuses on engaging academics, positive community, effective management, and developmental awareness. It ensures that students' needs for belonging, significance, and fun are met in each classroom and encourages positive engagement throughout the school day. The Responsive Classroom permeates our Lower School, creating a place where children know that they are valued as learners and people. It becomes a part of our language, the way we treat one another, a way to be. 

Highlights include:

  • Morning Meeting – Each class begins the day with a Morning Meeting. The sense of belonging and the skills of attention, listening, expression, and cooperative interaction are a foundation for every lesson, transition time, lining-up, and conflict all year long.
  • Lower School-Wide Rules – After developing classroom rules together, ”delegates” from each classroom will meet to determine the language for Lower School-Wide Rules to keep all of us consistent in specialist classrooms, on the playground, in the hallways, and around our campus.
  • Quiet Time – Offers children an opportunity to transition back into the classroom in a purposeful or relaxed way. Children can take a physical, mental, and emotional breather to help them reset and then effectively re-engage.

Maura Perotti

Responsive Classroom Lead


Maura Perotti is a First Grade Teacher and the Responsive Classroom Lead. She shares that in her “time growing up as a Country Day Lifer, one of the hallmarks of our school was the implicit curriculum, the lessons that we learned about being good people, good community members, that made Country Day the community it was. As the school has grown and evolved, we began looking to take all the valuable implicit teaching and to make it explicit. Enter Responsive Classroom. In our classrooms, the social-emotional curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum.”

Social emotional learning is the process children go through in learning how to navigate their emotions, relationships, and interactions. These skills are imperative to a child’s development and long-term mental health, becoming their compass for building strong relationships with themselves and others. We attend to our students’ needs for belonging and significance in their community through Responsive Classroom practices. These techniques create a cohesive community of empathetic friends who work together to achieve common goals.

In the lower grades, our students will learn to identify their own emotions and use the Zones of Regulation and accompanying strategies to help them build agency in controlling their zones and continue their work playing and learning. Additionally, we use the Kimochis Curriculum to help the students K-5 identify their feelings in the moment and provide concrete solutions to cope and create goals for the future. Our Counselor, Courtney Doyle, works with students individually, in small groups and whole class groups to guide them in developing social, emotional as well as executive functioning skills. By doing so, our students become more confident and active learners and community members. Mrs. Doyle is well connected with other professionals in the region, and can recommend outside support if needed.

Courtney Doyle

Lower School Counselor