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Berkshire Outdoor Center is proud to partner with Berkshire Adventures to provide at-school experiential education programs for students in Dalian, China.

Specifically, this social education program focuses on introducing students and school faculty to the five core concepts of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) through facilitated, hands-on group activities. This introduction to SEL helps provide opportunities for Chinese students to begin to develop character, flexibility, confidence and social awareness: core traits of strong, global leaders. Additionally, Chinese students will have the opportunity to interact in conversational English with native-English speakers - the American program facilitators.

Berkshire Outdoor Center currently provides this program to public and private schools in New York City, Boston and regional areas of western Massachusetts.

Program Goals

Students will work with experienced Berkshire Outdoor Center facilitators to:

  • develop stronger relationships with peers - get to know, understand and trust one another
  • develop a better understanding of themselves - become aware of strengths and weaknesses, fears and how they may be overcome, how they project themselves. Further, students will develop self-confidence and self-esteem and gain peer support
  • develop their communication skills - learn when to speak, when to listen, how to rephrase what you're trying to say, how to speak up our quieten down at theright moments
  • develop their skills as a leader - how to be flexible, tolerant, inclusive and collaborative. Additionally, how to use the combined power of all members of the team and how to solicit ideas from other members
  • develop their conversational English skills through an English language based program taught by native English speakers


Benefits of Social Learning Programs

The New York State Department of Education states that "Social and emotional development and learning has an important role to play in making schools safe and maintaining a caring school climate; facilitating students’ holistic development; and enhancing student motivation, self-expectations and high achievement."

Embracing social and emotional learning as a strategy for enhancing skill development and knowledge acquisition, in addition to bettering the school environment, is paramount. Further, the life skills developed through activities that encourage social and emotional learning help individuals prepare for their future, well beyond their school years.

The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning states that "Social and emotional skills are critical to being a good student, citizen and worker; and many risky behaviors (e.g., drug use, violence, bullying and dropping out) can be prevented or reduced when multiyear, integrated efforts are used to develop students' social and emotional skills. This is best done through effective classroom instruction; student engagement in positive activities in and out of the classroom; and broad parent and community involvement in program planning, implementation and evaluation."

Program Structure

Highly experienced Berkshire Outdoor Center facilitators will attend your school and each take groups of 12 students for the 4 hour program. Each instructor will work with one morning group and one afternoon group, daily. The facilitator will adjust activities based on the performance of the group.

The school will create the groups, and we recommend that students who are friends or familiar with one another are not placed together.

The group will perform a series of 'teambuilding activities' that will help the instructor determine the group dynamic. The activities will progress towards the stated goals of the program.

While the hands-on component of this proposal is only four hours long, Berkshire Outdoor Center can provide post-program follow up activities to the school. Further, the faculty can be trained in journaling techniques and other activities that help students mentally revisit the lessons learned during the program.


SEL Core Competencies

There are five core competencies of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

  • Self-Awareness
  • Self-Management
  • Social Awareness
  • Relationship Skills
  • Responsible Decision-Making

These core competencies incorporate:

  • Emotional learning
    • emotional process
    • emotional knowledge
    • emotional skill development
    • emotional regulation
    • emotional expression
    • empathy
  • Social learning
    • social navigation
    • understanding social cues
    • positive interactions
    • pro-social behavior
  • Cognitive skill development
    • cognitive regulation
    • inhibition of inappropriate response
    • attention control
    • flexibility/adapting to new environment


Faculty Development

Berkshire Outdoor Center can also run this program for school faculty. Our facilitators are highly adept at modifying activities for adult learners and children alike.

Berkshire Outdoor Center will train school faculty to continue facilitating Social and Emotional Development through hands-on activities throughout the school year.

End Result

A well-balanced learning environment relies on a healthy mix of academic challenge, social and emotional skill development, healthy relationships, self confidence and self esteem. This program is an introduction to this holistic approach and will help strengthen the school community.

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748 Hamilton Road, Becket, MA 01223
Tel: (413) 623-8991 | Fax: (413) 623-5890