The Synapse Program: Social-Emotional Learning and DEI

The Synapse program at Seattle Country Day School is a program that combines concepts related to social and emotional learning (SEL) and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Synapse is a cornerstone of the student experience for every child at SCDS, and it is a key element in an excellent, 21st-century education.

Over the course of nine years, the school’s Synapse curriculum helps students more thoroughly understand themselves, their family and friends, and their society — allowing them to become better learners, more well-rounded people, and more thoughtful citizens.


At SCDS, we use Synapse and other curricula to help students understand the lived experiences of individuals in our community and around the globe. The program embodies the belief that creativity and innovation occurs when a diverse group of people come together to work on a common challenge.  

Accordingly, there is an ethical component to this work, a desire to help remedy inequities. There is also a deeply practical component: We want to prepare students for success in a challenging, interesting, and ever-more-diverse society.

Synapse educates children in four foundational SEL and DEI concepts: self-knowledge or self-awareness, celebration of self-identity and others' identities, social dynamics, and social awareness.

Lower School, Grades K–3. Students learn about their own identity and that of others, come to embrace their strengths and challenges, build relationships with one another, identify and regulate their emotions, celebrate the diversity in their community, and build awareness of historic and local social issues.

Intermediate School, Grades 4–5. Students learn the neuroscience behind emotions and participate in group activities that foster cooperative leadership, friendship, and communication skills. Students also delve into the interpersonal impact of inequity and learn about digital citizenship and internet safety.

Middle School, Grades 6–8. Students continue to explore identity, empathy, and the role of technology in their lives. They also examine systems of inequality, personal agency, and ways to be agents of change.

For resources related to social and emotional learning and other topics related to raising gifted children, please visit the Just for Parents page

Learn More about aDMISSIONS


Two kindergarten boys playing during recess at Seattle Country Day School.
Ms, Ayala and students performing a hands on exercise during Spanish class.
Two middle school girls team up during tech class at SCDS.
Group of students posing and smiling together outside Seattle Country Day school.