Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What is the difference between the different kinds of programs SS offers?

A: We offer a variety of programming: namely, Grade Level Workshops, Classroom Visits, the Peacemaker Program, and Adult Programs. Grade level workshops are culture builders, level-setters, language learning opportunities. They are an opportunity for all children in your school to learn the Soul Shoppe language through stories and experiences. Classroom Visits are opportunities for individual classrooms to dive deep into the specific dynamics of each cohort, and for students to practice the tools in their own lives. The Peacemaker program is a leadership program that offers students a chance to become leaders, develop their empathy and conflict resolution skills, and support their peers through conflict and big feelings. Adult programs include Parent, Teacher, and Classified Staff workshops that give the adults the skills and frameworks to support children, build relationships, and highlight restorative practices.

Q: Is Soul Shoppe program going to stop bullying, teasing, and hard-to-manage-behaviors at my school?

A: The primary antidote to bullying and teasing is relationship building. During our programs, Soul Shoppe supports school communities by offering culture building and language frames for children and adults to better get along. We build relationships with children and nurtures relationship building among children, students, teachers at school. Working with Soul Shoppe will offer critical and specific support to your school community, as we work together towards reducing bullying, teasing, and hard to manage behaviors.

Q: The students at my school experience big challenges that make it hard for them to learn, and hard for teachers to teach. How can Soul Shoppe help?

A: Most, if not all, children have challenging days, and some have consistently harder days than others. Some schools have more children with more challenges, and we know big behaviors make teaching tough! The metaphor we use to understand and manage these feelings is the balloon. The balloon helps children to identify and acknowledge the feelings they are having, and to externalize those feelings so they don’t come to define the child. Children will learn what to do with those feelings and how to manage them in healthy, positive ways. As they learn concrete language practices for communicating about their feelings and with each other, children develop the capacity to help themselves and help each other through challenging moments precisely so that they can cooperate and learn.

Q: What does a relationship-based approach have to do with social emotional learning?

Soul Shoppe is a relationship-based approach. We believe that learning happens through connection and relationship. Our workshops offer stories, activities and opportunities for students to share their voices and their stories. Through the stories we create connection (inter and intra-personal) and through that connection safety and learning can happen. For us, this is the essence of social emotional learning and what Soul Shoppe has been providing schools for close to twenty years.

Q: What ways can adults support kids social emotional lives?

First off, it’s important for adults to understand and care for their own social and emotional lives. We offer an interactive Staff Training, Classified Staff Training and Parent Program so adults within the community understand Soul Shoppe’s communication and conflict resolution tools on a deeper level and can apply them to their own lives. Adults need these tools too! Once adults learn the tools, then it’s easier to use them with our young people. Our students need safe adults who model safe and supportive communication.

Also, we provide very clear and simple follow up lessons after every workshop that include activity worksheets you can use on a daily basis with students. The worksheets can be used to support student to process problems, their emotions and practice communicating their feelings and needs. Hand one out every time a student complains, every time they make a mistake, and they will be identifying problems, feelings and needs before they come to you, making a sort of shorthand for you to help them through problems. These can also be used at home!

I like this one too, but we should probably pick a style of writing- to me this is too colloquial. But maybe we want that? It’s a tossup between accessibility and clear/concise presentation, I think….

Q: How long does it take to make a school-wide shift using SS program?
A: To create a school culture defined by supportive relationships, ongoing practices of empathy and vulnerability need to become part of the everyday fabric. Creating this kind of culture is a practice, and one that is ongoing. Because it is a practice, our programming focuses on learning the tools, practicing the tools and having student actively engaged in using them in real-life, real-time situations. Depending on the program your work with and how deeply adults and children engage together, culture change can happen in one-three years.
Q: How can teachers weave SS programming and tools into everyday classroom practices?

A: Most teachers are already working with their students’ social emotional development. Soul Shoppe offers concrete practices to layer on top of existing knowledge and work with social emotional development. Each workshop Soul Shoppe offers comes with a lesson plan for the classroom, as well as activities and explorations so that teachers and families can delve deeper and continue to explore with their students.

Q: How can parents learn about the SS approach, so that they can reinforce these lessons at home?
A: We believe there is extraordinary potential for families to work with the Soul Shoppe tools and stories at home. Students will receive a bookmark at each workshop, and we ençourage parents to ask them about the content. Oftentimes, the bookmark will include a QR code, and an invitation for families to complete projects or conversations at home related to our content. Parents can also follow us on social media. We encourage schools to host Parent Workshops, an opportunity for parents to have their own Soul Shoppe experience and learn a bit more about the tools with which their students are working.
Q: We've never done Soul Shoppe before. How do you recommend starting?
A: In order to create culture change, we recommend that schools begin with the 7x7 program: 7 workshops, each of which is followed by a classroom visit. We recommend the Peacemaker program, which is a leadership opportunity. This program includes a Teacher Inservice and Parent Night. With this program, we consistently witness school-wide cultural transformation.
Q: What’s the best way to get staff and teacher buy-in?

Team buy-in is so important and we know “buy-in” happens when you see the impact, results and benefits. Our goal is to support students and STAFF with common language to communicate and resolve problems in a helpful and supportive way. We encourage teacher participation during student workshops and support staff to use the tools and strategies in and out of the classroom. Next time you are in a workshop, jump in and fully participate. YOU are the best role model for your young people. You don’t have to be the expert, students love it when you learn along with them, plus it’s fun!

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