Willows Community School Takes on Emotional Learning

“When I heard Marc Brackett speak at the California Association of Independent Schools, I knew this program would be a perfect fit.” Lisa Rosenstein, The Head of the Willows School was enthused about the RULER program, and created a space for it at The Willows; not just for her own students, but as a teach-the-teachers opportunity for other schools.

This past week on May 8th and 9th, The Willows hosted the West Coast launch of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence – Anchors of Emotional Intelligence RULER Train-the Trainer Institute. More than a hundred educators from schools around California came to hear Dr. Brackett speak and get a working foundation on the RULER program.

RULER is an acronym for Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing, and Regulating. “Emotions matter,” said Brackett, ” and they matter a great deal in school. Everyone needs emotional intelligence, and opportunities to be brave and kind.” Since the publication of “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman in 1995, the shorthand has become EQ ( to differentiate from IQ) and its central place in schools and education is a continuing evolution.

Using the color chart tool “Mood Meter” ( as above) gives students a simple way to express if they are happy, sad, calm, or mad. This allows for the feeling to be identified, expressed and and responded to by others.

Kindergarten teacher Brent Weiss admitted that “When we first started implementing RULER, I was not fully on board…it didn’t seem natural or organic because of the colors and the terminology. However, once it put it into play in the classroom, and at home raising two boys under the age of six, I was the incredible value of [the program] in action.”

Rosenstein continues to be just as enthused as she was at the first introduction. “It’s so important to teach children to understand their feelings and express them. When they are angry, sad, bored, then teachers have to struggle to teach. When there is access to emotion, you have access to the whole student, and success comes so much more easily.”

With RULER in place at The Willows since 2015, they have plans for more programs in the future to help more schools discover how they feel.

To find out about the next opportunity to attend the RULER teacher training, contact www.thewillows.org


Judith Martin-Straw



The Actors' Gang

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.