The Shipley Magazine

SEED: Nurturing Well-Being for Over 30 Years

Strategic Plan Update - Goal #1: Educational Excellence

How is Shipley strengthening students’ ability to engage and lead in an increasingly complex and interconnected world?

The five strategies supporting educational excellence are aimed at equipping students with the skills they will need to thrive and succeed in an increasingly global world, where empathy, critical thinking, and social competencies are essential. In this feature from the Summer/Fall 2023 issue of the Shipley Magazine, we explore how we are addressing these goals through Shipley's SEED (Social, Emotional, Ethical Development) Program.

SEED: Nurturing Well-Being for Over 30 Years

Goals Addressed: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3

Shipley's pioneering SEED (Social, Emotional, Ethical Development) program is an essential component of a Shipley education. Since 1995, the program has been dedicated to fostering students’ social and emotional development. Today, Shipley students ages 4 through 18 attend weekly classes where they learn to develop emotional agility, appreciate difference, and cultivate empathy for themselves and others. The SEED program encourages self-reflection, critical thinking, and skill-building in order to equip students with the tools they need to navigate emotions, relationships, changes, and challenges at Shipley and throughout life. 

Origins and Evolution 

Launched in 1995 as a "Health" course in Upper School, the SEED program has evolved over the years, embracing different names like Character Education, Emotional Literacy, and Positive Education, spanning PreK through Grade 12. Its focus remains on empowering students with social and emotional skills.

Global Influence 

As one of the few schools offering comprehensive social/emotional education across all grades, Shipley’s expertise draws visits and inquiries from local, national, and international institutions. Our commitment to shaping leaders extends beyond our campus.

A Framework for Well-Being

Inspired by decades of experience and research, Shipley has developed its own Framework for Well-Being, consisting of seven domains: Health & Safety, Belonging & Connection, Emotional Awareness & Agility, Character Strengths, Achievement, Meaning & Purpose, and Deep Engagement. This framework underpins a commitment to individual and community well-being in our pursuit of educational excellence.

Mapping to the Framework

Collaborating with curriculum experts from Geelong Grammar School, Shipley’s SEED team began the work of aligning the PreK-12 SEED curriculum with the Framework in 2020. This process identified areas of emphasis in each division's SEED curriculum.

Lower School

Emotional Awareness and Agility are essential lessons in the Lower School SEED program. The concepts of Belonging & Connection and Character Strengths are introduced, as exemplified by Ms. Leschinsky's Self-Knowledge Self-Portraits activity.

Middle School 

Building on Emotional Agility, Middle School SEED delves into Safety & Vitality, Accomplishment, and Meaning & Purpose. Ms. Fick's 6th graders share their emotions through a numerical check-in, fostering Belonging & Connection. 

Upper School

With a large influx of new students in ninth grade, Upper School SEED teachers revisit Framework concepts, like character strengths, in a relevant manner. The focus is on identity discovery, agency, and voice. Each grade level has unique activities: 10th graders choose guiding words, 11th graders explore decision-making, and 12th graders undertake Senior Service Projects to address local needs.

Traditions of Excellence & Care

Shipley’s focus on the individual is a practice rooted in the School’s founding principles. A brochure from 1911 underscores the School’s dedication to students’ academic progress and their overall well-being. 

"Should your daughter become enrolled as a pupil of the Misses Shipley’s School, her welfare will be studied along three lines: her health, her happiness, her education... [Her] well-being will receive the most careful personal attention.” 

—Excerpt from a 1911 brochure, courtesy of The Shipley School Archives.
Girl in a jacket

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The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.