April 2021 School Counselor Newsletter
Dear St. John Families,
Happy April! It’s really starting to feel like spring around here! In a year full of challenges and darkness, the added daylight and warmth each day is something small that I am so grateful for.
March 26th, last week, was a very important day in my field. It was International SEL Day! SEL stands for social and emotional learning. According to CASEL, the Collaborative for Academic and Social Emotional Learning, SEL is defined as “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.”
Undoubtedly, SEL is a critical component to success inside and outside of the classroom. At St. John, teachers, staff, and I infuse SEL into little moments throughout the day (e.g., helping students solve a conflict at recess, talking about the feelings and perspectives of characters in books, and so on), as well as through more explicit activities (e.g., classroom lessons, my SEL groups, and more). The school environment offers an abundance of opportunities for rich SEL, but this learning doesn’t end at school!
Parents and caregivers play a crucial role in helping children develop their social and emotional skills. If you would like to learn more about SEL and how you can foster it at home, I encourage you to check out this excellent information sheet prepared by Sound Discipline. This resource offers wonderful and simple tools and ideas for how you can implement SEL at home!
Finally, I want to remind you of the supports I offer our students:
- Google Classroom (K-5th Grade): The theme in my classroom this month is Teamwork & Sportsmanship. All of the lessons and activities this month have to do with helping children grow their skills in working with others and being good sports. Please contact me if your child is not in my classroom and you would like for them to be added.
- Virtual Calming Room (Middle School): Students are invited to check out my Virtual Calming Room. This site has many resources to support positive mental health, including: guided meditations and breathing videos, journaling prompts, yoga videos, and more.
- 1-on-1 Counseling (All students): I’m available to work with students as requested on a goal-oriented, short-term basis. Please email me to arrange this service.
If I can do anything at all to support your child or family, don’t hesitate to contact me via email at email@example.com. I work with students and families throughout the week and would be very happy to support you!
Resources I’m Highlighting this Month
- Do you ever struggle with what to do in tough parenting situations? Great Schools worked with the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence to create these helpful Parenting Cue Cards. There are dozens of parenting challenges from “My child exaggerates accomplishments” and “My child tries to negotiate every request I make” to “My child acts unmotivated unless I’m hovering over them or discipling them.” The cue cards offer simple suggestions and ideas to help navigate those common tricky parenting challenges.
- Excellent new (to me) podcast alert! Stoopkid Stories is a compilation of fun stories following several young Black characters as they face new adventures and have to overcome different obstacles dealing with their friends, family, school, and community. Each story has a lesson and is intended to spark great conversations!
- I recently attended a great webinar hosted by ParentMap called Saving Our Girls: Conversation Strategies for Parents + Teens. In the talk, Dr. Kathryn Korslund spoke about adolescent girl suicide, introduced strategies to guide families in talking openly about suicide, and offered strategies teens and families can use to increase effective coping. Although this is a heavy and uncomfortable topic, it is so important that we have these conversations. You can view this talk for free here and even though the title of the talk says “girls,” the information is relevant to parents of boys, too.
- I recently attended another great talk I want to share with you. Hosted by EmbraceRace, the title was Violence Against Asian Americans: How Do We Support the Children? Anatasia Kim and Manjusha Kulkarni spoke on the toll AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) communities are dealing with following the attacks on the AAPI community this year, how we can comfort children at this time, and how we can meaningfully support AAPI family members, friends, and neighbors. You can view this talk for free here.