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How do we approach SEL? The EDMO Method®

Working with the Education Director of the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center, Vicki Zakrzewski, we’ve created The EDMO Method®, our very own Social Emotional Learning (SEL) framework. The EDMO Method is simple, yet the effects are profound. It is grounded in the understanding that the way you act affects the way you think which in turn affects the character traits that you develop. At EDMO we intentionally weave in opportunities for kids to practice their SEL skills in all of our programs.

CLICK on each section to learn more about the components of The EDMO Method.

Camp EDMO - STEAM Summer Camps

ACT (6 RECIPE Skills) 

We intentionally design all of our programs to provide kids the opportunity to practice our six EDMO® RECIPE skills.


  • Responsibility.  Honoring commitments and faithfully completing tasks related to their role in a community
  • Empathy. Treating others with acceptance, understanding, and a sensitivity to their diverse perspectives and experiences
  • Collaboration. Working with others towards a common goal or action
  • Initiative Taking action, staying motivated, and persevering through challenges
  • Problem Solving. Defining a problem, proposing solutions, testing those solutions and adapting accordingly
  • Emotion Management. Being aware of and managing both positive and challenging emotions in a healthy way

*SEL skills adapted in part from the CASEL framework and the research report by Charles Smith, Ph.D., Gina McGovern, Reed Larson, Ph.D., Barbara Hillaker, Ph.D., Stephen C. Peck, Ph.D., (2016) “SEL Field Guide, Preparing Youth to Thrive: Promising Practices for Social & Emotional Learning”; David P. Weikhart, Center for Youth Program Quality.

Camp EDMO - STEAM Summer Camps

THINK (4 Mindsets)

Research shows that how you think affects how you act. Below are the 4 mindsets that we encourage children to develop. The “I” statements are examples of ways we encourage campers and staff to embody and practice each mindset.

Growth Mindset

  • I believe intelligence can be developed.
  • I embrace challenges.
  • I persist in the face of setbacks.

Connected Mindset

  • I understand that my actions and words ripple to all those around me.
  • I make time to connect with people by whatever means available (whether that be over phone, through Zoom or from 6-feet away)
  • I am curious about others who are different from me.


  • I practice being fully engaged and present at the moment.
  • I observe my thoughts, emotions, and body with curiosity.
  • I am compassionate with myself and others.

Maker Mindset

  • I creatively use my resources and adapt to constraints.
  • I appreciate failure as a natural process of learning.
  • I use my curiosity to drive my learning.

Camp EDMO - STEAM Summer Camps

BE (3 Character Traits)

As kids practice SEL skills regularly and build their EQ, they become more Curious, Courageous and Kind – universal character traits that research shows are highly predictive of high achievement and life satisfaction…i.e. Happy Grown-Ups.

How does curiosity, courage and kindness work to make us better, healthier, happier humans?

When our curiosity is piqued, our brain releases a chemical called dopamine that makes us feel good. Our hippocampus is also activated, which helps us form memories. That means curious kids remember more and want to learn more. Studies have also shown that when we express curiosity in others, we build closer relationships and are even perceived as more attractive by others.

At its core, courage is the willingness to act in the face of fear, uncertainty and doubt. It is a cognitive ability that can be trained. Our campers practice staying emotionally present and mindful, especially during challenging situations. That way their actions reflect positive character traits rather than negative instincts, and they build grit at the same time.

Kindness is truly the most powerful character trait. Like most anti-depressants, acts of kindness stimulate serotonin and endorphins and reduce cortisol levels. Practicing kindness has also been shown to strengthen the heart muscle, extend your life span and reduce anxiety. That means while you’re doing good for others or the environment, you’re less stressed and happier. You’re also connecting deeply with others. No wonder you become a happier grown up!

What does The EDMO Method look like in action?
The EDMO™ Vibe Game 

The EDMO Vibe Game has been re-designed for Summer 2021 for both our in-person and online programs! Campers will have the chance to earn both Pie Points and EDMO Points.

Pie Points
Pie Points are a way to recognize how campers are participating in camp, interacting with each other and showing up as their authentic selves. 

How campers can earn Pie Points

Every camper who participates in the following campy activities, gets one Pie Point each time: 

  • Teaching their family something at home and bringing a note or having their family send an email saying what they taught
  • Doing the weekly challenge
  • Dressing up on Thursday Dress Up Day
  • Stumping their Counselor or Instructor during Stump Time
  • Telling a joke during Joke Time
  • By demonstrating The EDMO Method Skills

Campers can earn an unlimited number of Pie Points throughout their week of camp. For every Pie Point a camper earns, it equals one entry into the Pie Raffle on Friday where they have the opportunity to win the chance to pie a staff member with a shaving cream pie! 

EDMO Points
Campers earn EDMO points each day they attend an EDMO program. 

How campers can earn EDMO Points
Just by showing up and participating, they will earn 1 point for every 30 minutes (up to 13 points a day) they attend a program. 

The more programs a camper attends, the more points they can earn and once they hit 300 points, they can start to redeem them on the EDMO Threadless Store. For every 300 points a camper earns, they will get $5 in Threadless store cash to spend on EDMO swag.

What are some other ways we incorporate SEL?

Camp EDMO - STEAM Summer Camps


Starting day one at camp, our campers learn to show gratitude and recognition of others by giving SNAPS. SNAPS are a distinctive action and sound pattern that direct positive energy toward someone being recognized for a kind act: “Pat-Pat-Clap-Clap-Snap-Snap-YEEAAAH!” (Two pats, two claps, two snaps, wiggly fingers sending the energy on its way.) It’s impossible not to smile when you get SNAPS.

Camp EDMO - STEAM Summer Camps

Team Time

This intentional time in our daily camp day allows kids to put their SEL skills into practice through a variety of tools including, The EDMO Vibe Game, Kimochis (stuffed animals used as a social emotional teaching tool to help kids understand their emotions, communicate their needs and build empathy), dynamic mindfulness exercises (think meditation meets yoga) and more. In addition to general focus on each piece of The EDMO Method, each week kids create crafts, play games and read stories highlighting a specific skill.

Camp EDMO - STEAM Summer Camps

Staff Professional Development

At EDMO, we know that supporting kids in their SEL skill building begins with ensuring that ALL EDMO staff are trained in both the theory and practice of SEL. Our Learning Coordinators (typically credentialed teachers or educator professional development experts) model, coach and provide training for EDMO instructors, focusing on the integration of SEL into all aspects of the camp day including effective tools for curriculum delivery and behavior management.