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Sparhawk Lower School Chooses Love

Cynthia Bolin
A collage of three groups of Sparhawk Lower School students smiling.

Here’s a recipe for you: “Take a pinch of Courage and add it to some Gratitude and mix thoroughly. Add a lot of Forgiveness and mix again. Add Compassion in Action and fold in gently.” What do you get when you’re done? Love. These four “ingredients” form the basis of the Choose Love Enrichment Program™, a Pre-K through 12th grade character development and Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) program that teaches educators and their students how to choose love in any circumstance through wonderfully simple yet powerful themes and practices for the classroom that naturally evolve into a culture where students feel safe, nurtured, connected, and empowered. 

Throughout the year, I have been introducing students to these concepts by going into the classrooms and working with the teachers and students to incorporate simple practices into their daily routines. Practices include routines such as deep breathing, gratitude in action, and how to let go of more difficult emotions. 

The program incorporates the latest advances in neuroscience, mindfulness, emotional intelligence, and positive psychology to provide children the essential life skills that will not only help them succeed, but also increase the likelihood that they will choose kindness with one another.

The Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement™ was founded by Scarlett Lewis, a mother of one of the victims at Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in 2012. The mission of the organization is to create safer schools through a no-cost, lifespan social and emotional learning platform that not only teaches students the life skills that are essential to happiness and success, but also fosters a school culture that reduces violence from the inside out. The Choose Love Enrichment Program™ was specifically developed to enhance the classroom and school climate, making it a place where students are safe, compassionate, connected, and able to thrive.

There are over 20 years of research showing the benefits of teaching Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) skills. Students who actively participate, practice, and apply skills and concepts learned  in SEL programs have higher self-esteem, stronger communication and relationship skills, greater prosocial behavior, better class participation and attitude, and an increase in academic performance and test scores. All of the evidence points to SEL as being very beneficial for our children and essential in creating safer, more positive schools and learning environments.

For further information on Social and Emotional Learning, please visit the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) website -

For more information on the Choose Love Enrichment Program, visit the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement™ website -