One in three children is bullied or harassed.And the vast majority have witnessed bullying at school. When a child is bullied or witnesses bullying, a cycle of fear and trauma is generated, making it difficult to focus and learn. As students fall behind academically, they lose confidence and feel inadequate, and so the cycle continues.

Bullying is not the problem.

The problem is isolation.

Soul Shoppe brings connection to school communities, overcoming isolation through interactive workshops that introduce tools and language for emotional self-regulation, mindfulness, communication, and conflict resolution. We reachalmost 60,000 children every year, teaching life skills that can bridge our differences and change the way we resolve conflicts.We teach kids to notice and manage their feelings in healthy ways.

Our whole school approach addresses the underlying causes of bullying. Our programs are designed to help students, teachers and parents EXPERIENCE empathy.We address real problems in a way that changes the way people interact.

What We Do

Soul Shoppe offers various programs for different levels of a school community. Our program weaves our tools and curriculum throughout a student’s whole day, from the playground to the classroom, and even to their home.

Our school communities can customize their service package from our offerings listed below:

  • Grade Level Workshops – 45 minute assemblies of up to 100 students in the same grade, where a Soul Shoppe facilitator guides them through interactive lessons on different themes.
  • Staff In-Service – Professional development for teachers and administrators. A Soul Shoppe facilitator gives the staff a training on the tools the students are learning so they can model the tools. Also a time for responding to questions and concerns about supporting students.
  • Classroom Visits – In-classroom lessons that further encourage and integrate our tools. Some classrooms deal with difficult behaviors and some teachers want extra support.
  • Parent Night –When parents become involved, students are able to talk about their experiences and use the tools at home, often changing the way a family communicates with each other!
  • Peacemaker Program – In our Peacemaker program, a school chooses a group of 25-35fourth and fifth graders to help fellow students resolve conflicts using the Peace Path™, ourproprietary conflict resolution process.

How We Do It

Our approach is unique. We provide a consistent facilitator throughout the year to deliver workshops, assemblies, and classroom visits at the school. Our facilitators go through an intensive training program. Their presence models empathy and emotional self-management. Programs are evaluated each year and revised to ensure relevance.

Our Peacemaker Program teaches students to resolve their problems without the need for adult intervention. A group of 25-35 fourth and fifth grade students are selected to become Peacemakers. They are trained to help their peers literally walk the Soul Shoppe Peace Path™, our proprietary conflict resolution pathway.Students listen to one another, name their feelings, and ask for what they need – and the Peacemaker peer is there to support, cue and coach as the problem is solved.

Why It Works

Soul Shoppe’s curriculum works because it is built on a foundation of research and interactive experience from schools over the past 19 years.

Every day there are young people who go to school feeling angry, lonely, alienated and scared. When children are distracted by difficult feelings they don’t do well in school. They act out and cause distraction or harm to other students and, in some cases, are frequently absent from school, which makes them less likely to succeed. Since 2001, Soul Shoppe has addressed critical social emotional learning (SEL) in elementary and middle schools.

According to Psychology Today, “Research has shown that emotional intelligence (EQ) predicts over 54% of the variation in success (relationships, effectiveness, health, quality of life). Additional data concludes that young people with high EQ earn higher grades, stay in school, and make healthier choices.”

Down the road, the social return on investment for effective SEL programs can be upwards of 11:1, according to a 2015 Columbia University study and aggregate analysis. Another meta-analysis by CASEL (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning) in 2011 showed that evidence-based SEL programs increase academic performance by 11%.

Social emotional learning and so-called “Non- Cognitive Learning” have a robust literature proving their importance and efficacy. CASEL is the best source of longitudinal studies in this area of study and they conclude in the CASEL 2013 guide:

In the 2018-2019 School Year…

  • 53,300 students experienced an average of 5 workshops
  • Soul Shoppe delivered 2,976 grade-level workshops and 1,191 classroom visits to over 100 schools
  • 1,185 Teachers attended an average of seven evidence-based SEL programs and two professional development sessions to integrate their experience
  • 1,770 students received 10 hours of training on allyship, peer support, and conflict resolution through our Peacemaker program.

SEL is more than just a good idea. It has become a scientifically established, practical approach that can improve the social, emotional, and academic performance of preschool and elementary school students throughout the country. SEL deserves a place in every child’s daily education.

A growing body of research links SEL to improved attitudes about school, prosocial behavior, and academic achievement, and reductions in aggression, mental health problems, and substance use.”

(Durlak et al., 2011; Greenberg et al., 2003; Zins, Weissberg, Wang, & Walberg, 2004)

We frequently hear from teachers and students at Soul Shoppe schools that they are happier. There is more love, more patience, and fewer disciplinary trips to the office. The research page, along with dialog and feedback from teachers, parents, and administrators, has informed our work over the years.