Counselor's Corner

North Merrick School District - Spring 2023

Mrs. Jackie Sekunda

School Counselor

What's Going on in Guidance

We have been focusing on the areas of relationship skills and responsible decision-making. Lessons in kindergarten and grade two have just wrapped up and grades three to six are beginning. The main topics of the classroom lessons were friendship skills, being a good sport, peaceful problem solving, and goal setting. Students learned different strategies for solving problems with peers and role played using I-Messages with classmates.

Peaceful Problem Solving

Students learned several different techniques for solving conflicts with peers. In particular, I-Statements are a technique from Restorative Practices that allow both adults and children to share their feelings and needs, while those around them develop empathy.

I-Statements can be incredibly helpful in both developing and repairing relationships.

First grade students were also introduced to Kelso's Choice Wheel and practiced different situations and ways to solve problems.

Additional resources on how to use I-Statements at home:

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Being a Good Sport

Developing good sportsmanship does more than show kids how to behave politely during and after a game. Sportsmanship impacts how children interact on and off the field. Good sportsmanship builds teamwork and character and teaches respect, honor, discipline, kindness, inclusion, resilience, perseverance, and more.

The benefits of good sportsmanship are many. When kids enjoy active play, they look forward to sports and exercise as a chance to make new friends and develop new skills. Good sportsmanship encourages everyone to do their best, boosts confidence, demonstrates the rewards of hard work, and fosters goal setting and collaboration.

Key qualities children learn through good sportsmanship include:

1. teamwork and cooperation,

2. grit, and

3. dealing with winning and losing graciously.

How Can You Work on Being a Good Sport at Home?

As a family, play some favorite games and practice modeling good sportsmanship. If you fall behind in a game, say something like "That's disappointing that I missed my turn, so I'll take a deep breath. I'm still having so much fun playing with you." Then point out when your child shows qualities of good sportsmanship.

Some quick games to try this with include:

  • Tic Tac Toe
  • Charades
  • Don't Break the Ice

Additional Resource:

Goal Setting and a Growth Mindset

Kindergarten students learned what it means to have a growth mindset, while students in grades one through three worked on making personal short-term goals.

Goal setting is a meta-skill that contains three sub-skills for self-management:

1. prioritization,

2. time management, and

3. progress tracking.

These fundamental skills will not only serve to improve academic performance but also help students excel outside of school.

As students strive to reach a big goal, the upcoming challenges will distill and cultivate their abilities to execute a plan. As the goals become more complex and difficult, students become more capable and efficient.

During explicit teaching of growth mindset lessons , students learn that our abilities are not fixed, that our brains are malleable, and can grow with determination and learning. When students understand that their intelligence is not limited, goal setting is the pathway to success!

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Mindfulness at Home

With the spring weather, it is a great opportunity to practice mindfulness outdoors.

Mindfulness can help us feel calm, focused and in control.

Some outdoor mindfulness activities include:

  • play I-Spy
  • go on an outdoor scavenger hunt
  • color with sidewalk chalk
  • stack rocks
  • gardening
  • watch the clouds
  • blow bubbles

"Spending more time outside connects us with nature, but also with ourselves."

Scavenger Hunt: