• Less anxiety and stress
• Less fearful (in the present and future)
• Enhanced self-esteem
• Improved ability to express oneself and one’s feelings
• Increased self-awareness
• Willingness to try difficult tasks
• Positive attitude towards self and others
• Improved attitude about school and learning
• Showing appreciation and kindness towards self and others
• Increased mindfulness
• Ability to see other perspectives and show empathy
• Healthier relationships and deeper connections
• Better emotional self-regulation
• Less aggression and anger
• Better able to handle personal/social issues that arise
• Improved resilience
• Improved decision-making skills
• Heightened self-management
• Enhanced connections and relationships
• Able to respond in a loving manner
• More caring and concern shown to others
• Improved social skills
• Social and Moral Awareness
• Improved focus and attention to task
• Eagerness to learn
• Improved self-confidence as a learner
• Improved emotional intelligence
On the morning of December 14th, 2012, Jesse McCord Lewis walked out of his house and down the driveway towards his father who was waiting to drive him to school. Along the way, Jesse stopped to write a message with his finger in the frost on his mother’s car: “I love you.” Just hours later, Jesse was gone. He was one of the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.
Days prior to the tragedy, Jesse wrote three words on his chalkboard at home: “Nurturing. Healing. Love.” We understand these final words as a calling from Jesse that says, “I have something for you to do for us. That’s to consciously change an angry thought into a loving one because it is a choice.”
The Jesse Lewis Choose Love MovementTM collaborates with professional educators to bring lasting meaning to Jesse’s murder by developing school-based educational programs to change our current culture of violence to one of safety, peace and love for everyone in our world.
This is the single guiding principle, the sole purpose and motto of our work: Teaching others to Choose Love through our CHOOSE LOVE ENRICHMENT PROGRAM through social, emotional, learning.
– Teacher, Elementary School in Stamford, Connecticut
“Although we can’t always choose what happens to us, we can always choose how to respond. Children can learn to choose a loving thought over an angry one. When a child realizes that they have the power to positively impact themselves as well as those around them, it is empowering and perpetuates their positive actions and interactions.” — Scarlett Lewis, Founder of the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement™
The Choose Love Enrichment Program™ is a no cost, downloadable, pre-K through 12th grade, evidence-based social and emotional (SEL) classroom program teaching children how to choose love in any circumstance. The program focuses on four important character values – Courage, Gratitude, Forgiveness, and Compassion in Action – which cultivates optimism, resilience and personal responsibility. Included elements are positive psychology, mindfulness, neuroscience, character values, and more.
Children learn that Choosing Love means choosing to live a life with Courage and Gratitude, practicing Forgiveness, and being Compassionate individuals. Being able to Choose Love promotes their resilience in challenging times. As a result, children learn personal responsibility and the understanding that they always have a choice in how they respond. They realize they can choose to love themselves, and others, and the program teaches them how to do this.
Through decades of research, including long-term studies spanning over 30+ years, we know that SEL is the most proactive and preventative mental health initiative available. SEL is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions (CASEL). The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) is the world’s leading organization advancing one of the most important fields in education in decades: the practice of promoting integrated academic, social, and emotional learning for all children in preschool through high school.
Courage is one of the elements that had a profound effect on me when learning to Choose Love this year. The program has changed my perspective on life, who I am today, and who I want to be later. Through patience, growth and synergy, and choosing love I am able to implement all these elements in my mature adult life and frame my perspective on the meaning of my life.
Teaching the core concepts of the Choose Love Enrichment Program fundamentally transformed my classroom and became part of our culture. During the course of teaching the formula for choosing love, my classroom climate improved dramatically and students began using the phrase ‘choosing love’ not only in our classroom but in their daily lives. In addition, I personally benefited and was able to use the lessons in my own life. I feel that I am a better person because I implemented the Choose Love Enrichment Program in my class.
This Movement is empowering children to be both self aware and aware of the feelings and emotions of those around them. SEL should be taught right along with the regular classroom curriculum.
Choose Love Enrichment Program is not only for the students but it gives me the important tools to be a better teacher. I learned to use courage, gratitude, forgiveness, and compassion-in-action in the classroom. It has given me the vocabulary to help my students through challenges.
Thank you for Choosing Love!
PTSD vs. PTG Almost everyone has heard of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the vast majority of us experience something called post-traumatic growth (PTG) following difficulty or trauma. PTG is when we are strengthened through our experience and learn valuable lessons that translate into personal growth. While most people have never heard of PTG, we know when we are aware of something, we experience the benefits exponentially. We all feel pain (physical, mental, emotional) which can provide a tremendous opportunity for…
The Importance of FUN and PLAY by Stephanie Bierman, Director of Program Development; Curriculum and Resource Writer While the Choose Love Movement and Program have a large focus on Choosing Love, we also have 5 words that our movement and program are grounded in which are, “Have A Lot of FUN!”. These words are important in more ways than one. They are particularly special and meaningful because they are the words of Jesse Lewis. Jesse left a note for his…
Jesse Lewis Left a Note for his Brother. It read, “Have a lot of fun” Jesse left a note for his big brother, folded on his desk. This was a last message left for an older brother from a younger brother. JT found it after Jesse’s murder. He wrote, “Have a Lot of fun.” This message has proven to be incredibly sage advice, along with Jesse’s other messages including, “Nurturing Healing Love” that has gone around the world and is…
Challenges in Schools Require Next Generation Solutions Educators are our modern day heroes! Every day, educators are faced with new, more complex and difficult challenges. I travel cross country almost continuously, speaking to students, educators and administrators, with parents and communities, listening to the frustrations and worry that what we’re doing, ‘isn’t working.’ Bullying A lot of the issues that we experienced when we went to school are continuing and even getting worse. Bullying has increased by 21% since we…