The Open Circle approach for social and emotional learning

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The Open Circle approach was developed over thirty years ago in Wellesley College, MA, USA. The program pivots on 15-minute Open Circle Meetings, occurring twice-weekly, during which classroom teachers teach the grade-differentiated Open Circle Curriculum.

Students sit in a circle and learn about important issues through discussion, role-playing, children’s literature, and community-building activities. The curriculum consists of 37 core lessons that cover emotion understanding and management, relationship building and communication skills, and problem solving.

Open Circle uses a “whole school approach”, engaging all adults in a school community to learn and model key prosocial vocabulary and skills.

Open Circle is used in over 300 schools in North America, and research has shown reduction in students’ aggressive behavior, and increases in students’ empathy and cooperation. Furthermore Open Circle is recognized by CASEL as a “SELect” program.