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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Mental, Emotional, and Social Health is taught in sixth grade. Most sixth graders are experiencing many physiological and psychological changes brought on by the onset of puberty and each student is unique in their adeptness to handle various mental, emotional, and social health experiences. They are also advancing their mental, emotional, and social awareness. Educators are in a unique role to support and encourage students during a physically and emotionally challenging time. At this age, many students are experiencing a wide range of emotions but may not realize how these emotions impact their behavior. Building self-awareness through standards-based instruction on mental, emotional, and social health can foster academic success and emotional wellbeing for a lif​etime. ​

The Orange County Department of Education does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of this outside information. Further, the inclusion of links to particular items in hypertext are not intended to reflect their importance, nor is it intended to endorse any views expressed or products or services offered on these outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring the sites.​​​

Information and Resources

The California Healthy Minds, Thriving Kids Project for Elementary - Child Mind Institute

These elementary-age videos feature friendly characters and imaginative stories to teach key mental health skills in a way that kids will enjoy watching and remember longer.

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)

CASEL’s mission is to help make evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL) an integral part of education from preschool through high school.

The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence: Addressing Bullying and Adolescent Dating Abuse

California Partnership​ to End Domestic Violence report on bullying, adolescent dating abuse, and how to support healthy relationships in school.

3 How to help children and teens manage their stress - The American Psychological Association

This American Psychological Association article provides information​ about healthy ways to help kids manage stress. ​

Mind - Kids Health: Teens

Kids Health: Teens provides information and resources for dealing with the changes in your body, your mind, relationships, body image, families, and emotions.

Curriculum and Lessons

Erika's Lighthouse

A suite of programs designed to allow educators to empower teens with an introduction to mental health, depression-literacy, help-seeking and what it takes to promote good mental health. Focused on grades 4-12,  these no-cost, skills-based programs use diverse teen voices to spread awareness and reduce stigma.​ We All Have Mental Health (Ideal for grades 4-6): An introduction to mental health by understanding everyday feelings vs overwhelming feelings with a strong focus on help-seeking and good mental health. ​

Book List

Grade 4 - 6

Classroom Activities

  • Learn about stress by playing a stacking block game, the Marshmallow Challenge, or team memorization game.
  • Students research and create stress-prevention tip cards, electronic memes, or video PSAs including how to seek the help of a trusted adult. 
  • Conduct routine check-ins with students using a check in box where students can drop in concerns and questions or give each students a ‘How Am I Feeling?” card that indicates various levels of stress. 
  • Students write a story or short vignette highlighting their favorite memories of a lost loved one. 
  • Explore how other cultures around the world cope with loss and grief and how mourning occurs in other cultures. 
  • Organize a campus-wide campaign to take a stand against bullying and sexual harassment such as “See Something, Say Something, Do Something.” 
  • Role-playing can be used as a tool to help students identify emotions and boundaries. ​


​Partnering with the Family​​

  • ​Students share their wellness wheel with their family, guardian, or caretaker and discuss ways they will proactively handle staying well in ea​ch dimension of wellness.

​​Partnering with your School​​​

  • Invite a school counselor or mental health provider to be a guest speaker to help students recognize situations for which someone should seek help with stress, loss, depression, and getting help with mental, emotional, and social problems. ​

​​Partnering with your Community​​

  • Students engage in service learning to help people in need. 
  • Students can research and collect community resources and free services. ​
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