George Lucas Educational Foundation

After-School Social and Emotional Learning Gives Kids Wings

This program in South Carolina teaches elementary school children skills for success in school and life.
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After-School Social and Emotional Learning Gives Kids Wings (Transcript)

Man 1: Wings, can I give you some praise?

Everybody: Yeah!

Voice Over: This is Wings for Kids, an after school program in Charleston, South Carolina, for children in grades K through six. It's three hours a day, five days a week, dedicated solely to teaching kids critical, social and emotional skills.

Everybody: I saw the wings. Let me tell you why I learned--

Voice Over: Every day, the children chant a song that sums up Wings' essential teachings: monitoring your feelings, listening to each other and making good choices for yourself. It's called the creed.

Everybody: The choices I make shall be what's best for me to do.

Voice Over: Throughout the afternoon, the teachers stay on message, reminding the students how they can live these lessons and succeed.

Man 2: We have to learn how to say no to peer pressure, so that we can make the choice that's best for ourselves to make, okay?

Voice Over: Wings is a nonprofit, established more than a decade ago. It serves boys and girls who come from a poor community. At Wings, they're taking dance classes and doing art projects and playing competitive games, all activities with social and emotional lessons hidden inside them.

When I say "go" you must find the right sentence to create to go against that peer pressure. Once again we go into Wings, when someone says "Hey, you want to skip and let's go to the store over there?" Go!

These lessons give children confidence to express themselves, overcome setbacks, and work well with others. Tools that equip them for success in school, work and life.

Man 2: Let's see who can tell me what our objective this week is. Your hands are up--

Voice Over: The Wings teachers, who are local college students, emphasize a new lesson each week.

Man 1: When I say "go" do your move and say your phrase. Once again, "Let's steal the candy from that desk." All right, brainstorm."

Voice Over: After school is an ideal time for teaching these skills in the guise of fun. Skills that often don't get full attention during the school day.

Man 1: One more time, don't want to get in trouble!

Voice Over: People often think of these abilities as innate. Either you're resilient and good at managing your emotions or you're not. But anecdotal evidence shows Wings kids are behaving and performing better in the classroom. Among the small group of students who attended the first year of the program, 40 percent more graduated from high school than those who didn't go to Wings. So Wings believes, and the first bits of data from the program suggest that social and emotional skills can be taught, enabling each child, even children whom life has dealt many obstacles, to soar.

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Video Credits

Senior Producer / Narrator / Camera

  • Grace Rubenstein


  • Karen Sutherland

Associate Producer

  • Doug Keely

Executive Producer

  • Ken Ellis

Additional Footage Courtesy of

  • WINGS for Kids

Support for Edutopia's Schools That Work series is provided, in part, by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

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