At VBS, we understand that emotions matter! Humans are social- emotional beings and our emotions are pervasive in our daily lives, affecting how we learn, feel, think, and act. Emotions influence our attention, memory, and learning and can determine how we make decisions, the quality of our relationships, and our physical and mental well-being.

At VBS, we are committed to nurturing the social and emotional well-being of the WHOLE child and understand that when our students develop a greater awareness of their emotions, along with strategies for regulating them, we are equipping them with the skills to make positive decisions, problem solve effectively, and show empathy for others… creating emotionally intelligent human beings!


In partnership with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, VBS has implemented RULER, an evidence-based approach to social emotional learning, to explicitly teach our students the skills of emotional intelligence. Equipped with emotional intelligence, our students learn to problem solve, build and maintain positive relationships, and develop confidence and competence socially, emotionally, and academically.

RULER is an acronym for the five skills of emotional intelligence that are explicitly taught and woven into our curriculum and school climate:


The Anchor Tools of Emotional Intelligence are evidence-based tools designed to increase the emotional intelligence of the school community. RULER includes four tools: the Charter, Mood Meter, Meta-Moment, and Blueprint. Each is based on scientific research and helps children and adults develop their emotional intelligence skills.

List of 4 items.

  • The Charter

    The Charter is a collaborative document that helps establish supportive and productive learning environments. The focus is on how each member of the class and school community want to feel and what needs to happen for those feelings to be consistent. By working together to build the Charter, everyone establishes common goals and holds each other accountable for creating the positive emotional climate.
  • The Mood Meter

    This is a self-awareness tool that helps students and educators become more mindful of what they are feeling. Students and educators learn that emotions change throughout the day and affect our actions. This tool helps develop the emotional awareness we need to inform our choices. Using the mood meter, students and educators learn to expand their emotional vocabulary, replacing basic feeling words with more sophisticated terms. Learning to use a more nuanced vocabulary, the Mood Meter empowers students and educators to recognize the full range of their emotional lives and address their feelings more effectively.
  • The Meta-Moment

    The Meta-Moment is a self-regulating tool that teaches self-control and effective strategizing in responding to difficult situations. Students and educators learn how to take space between an emotional trigger and a response and develop strategies and reflective practices to respond effectively in emotionally challenging situations by envisioning their “best self”.
  • The Blue-Print

    The Blue-print is a problem solving tool used to help solve conflicts and consider other perspectives. This tool builds empathy as students and educators work collaboratively to consider the feelings of others, identify healthy solutions, and set positive goals.


The Feeling Words Curriculum provides students the opportunity to develop a wide-ranging "feelings" vocabulary. A comprehensive and nuanced emotion vocabulary helps students learn and apply the RULER skills of emotional intelligence as students continue to become more aware of their own and others' emotions,   understand the causes and consequence  of their emotions and hone their ability to regulate emotions and behavior. 
The feeling words are research based, developmentally appropriate,  and chosen because of their relevance to the classroom environment and life in general, encompassing the wide range of emotions children experience and observe. The curriculum provides appropriate lessons and content for each grade level and include activities on self-reflection, academic and current event analyses, artistic expression, family interactions, and problem solving. It is designed to educate the whole child, addressing the cognitive, emotional and social dimensions of learning within  a nurturing and engaging learning environment, while teaching the students to apply social and emotional skills both in and outside of school.