Cedar Mountain Kids- Summer Edition
Intro to CM's School Counseling Department
Welcome to Cedar Mountain Kids
I am Ms. Green, your School Counselor, and I am really looking forward to beginning a new school year with all of you.
Kindergarteners....Welcome to Cedar Mountain! I know you will love it here!
First graders, I know you will have a great year when you return in September!
This newsletter will be an introduction for some, and a review for others, to our School Counseling Office- our programs, and services. It will also contain some helpful information to help prepare your children's social-emotional skills for this big, new, and exciting chapter in their lives.
A little about your School Counselor.
The 2022-2023 School Year will be my fourth at Cedar Mountain.
I have a Master's Degree in Applied Clinical Psychology, and hold NJ Certifications in School Counseling and School Psychology. I have Post-Graduate Certificates in Trauma and Disaster Relief, and Animal Assisted Therapy.
I have experience providing therapy to children in agency and private practice settings, and I have worked in the school setting for over 17 years.
I love animals, nature, lots of outdoor activities, plants, books, crafts, unicorns, cake, and sparkles.
I also love to learn, and I'm always seeking new skills and knowledge for both my professional and personal growth.
I try to bring a bit of my training and expertise, as well as my interests, to my interactions with your children....as well as lots of hugs whenever needed.
My contact information is listed below.
I will have very limited hours during the summer, but I will try to address any communications in a timely fashion.
If you have an urgent matter, it will be best to contact the Main Office.
What does a School Counselor Do, Exactly?
My job is to identify needs across social, emotional, and academic areas, and provide resources where needed.
Some of my responsibilities:
- Develop and participate in school-wide initiatives and programs to promote a positive school culture and inclusivity.
- Deliver K-1 School Counseling Curriculum through class-based lessons, or "Class Meetings" as I call them, utilizing a variety of evidence based programs, materials, and tools.
- Identify social, emotional, behavioral, and academic difficulties, and provide the appropriate resources.
- Provide school-based counseling to small groups and individual students.
- Provide intervention and support for crises.
- Collaborate with other school-based services such as Intervention and Referral Services Team, Child Study Team, Related Service providers, and community providers/agencies to provide a continuum of interventions and resources as needed.
- Collaborate with parents/guardians, provide relevant and practical information about child development, strategies to utilize at home, and appropriate referrals to community services and providers.
- Provide ongoing and constant acceptance and support of our entire school body, which may include the occasion hug or high five.
Social Emotional Preparation for Kindergarten and First Grade
A little bit of anxiety and fear is normal and expected. This will be a brand new experience, after all. First graders may experience unease after the very unusual previous two years. Encourage your child to verbalize their feelings (helping them with feelings words they may not know yet). Validate your child's feelings, and reassure them that school is a safe place to be, where they will learn interesting and exciting new things, and have lots of fun in the process. Remind them that there have been other times in which they've been with trusted adults other than their parents- highlight the positive experiences they've had with grandparents, aunts/uncles, family friends, babysitters, daycare workers, etc.
It's important for your children to understand that they will have some good days, and some not-so-good days, and this is true for everyone. They will experience mistakes as well as successes, joys and disappointments, connections and conflicts. A critical lifetime skill is developing the ability to emotionally handle anything that comes their way- resiliency.
Starting Kindergarten with some basic social-emotional skills will better prepare them for the multitude of experiences they will have throughout their school career- even in Kindergarten.
Kindergarten Readiness- Social Emotional Skills is a list of skills that you can help reinforce with your child prior to their start in Kindergarten. This list is not limited to Kindergarten, and is just as important for our rising first graders.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your child's social emotional readiness, please don't hesitate to reach out to me.
Kindergarten Readiness-Social Emotional Skills
Social Emotional learning is a critical component of school success. Social interactions with peers and adults, emotional regulation, problem solving, self-advocacy, and perspective taking are just a few of the skills that will be developed throughout elementary school years. The linked information provides some skills that will give your child a good start in Kindergarten.
Recommended Book List
Reading with your child is a very important foundation for starting school. Not only does this activity increase the bond between adult and child and facilitate acquisition of reading skills, it is also an important tool for addressing many social, emotional, behavioral, and psychological issues with our children. From anxiety to grief, this book list is filled with great suggestions to meet almost any need, but is a small sampling of what's available. If there is a topic for which you would like a recommendation, please ask.
Summer Activities that promote Social Emotional Learning
We often think of summer as a break from learning, but it is actually a great time to promote learning through fun activities, interactions with nature, and social time with family and friends. If you need some ideas, check out this list of suggestions.