Counselor Corner

January 2021

I hope that everyone is staying safe and healthy! I understand that this is a challenging time for everyone, and I hope that we are all finding ways to bring joy and comfort to our lives.


The Great Kindness Challenge is the week of January 25 - January 29, and I would love for all of our students to participate! More information is below!


I have been continuing my virtual lessons using the Second Step program. In our K - 5 classes, we have been learning about assertiveness, empathy, and reviewing our listening skills. We also have been listening to stories about gratitude and big emotions. In grades 6 - 8, we worked on bullying awareness, stress management, and self-care. We have started learning about how our decision-making can be impacted by emotions, and what we can do to to recognize the signals our bodies give us when we begin to feel overwhelmed.


Please remember that I am here to support the students however I can. I am available to meet via zoom if a student needs help or just wants to talk! Don't hesitate to reach out if I can support you in any way. Email is the best way to reach me while we are fully remote.


Please continue to read below for some information that I hope you will find useful! My website is updated regularly as well. You will find my virtual office there, which is updated regularly with links to resources and lessons.


Sincerely,

Mrs. Stiles

mstiles@greenhills.org


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Great Kindness Challenge

Green Hills students will be participating in the Great Kindness Challenge during the week of January 25 - January 29. We will be sharing the checklist with all students during their SEL lessons. Often, when we perform acts of kindness for others, we lift our own spirits as well. It is our hope that by encouraging all students to participate in this challenge, we can positively impact the well-being of the entire community!
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Building Confidence and Self-Esteem

Confidence and self-esteem are always crucial traits for young people to work on, but now more than ever, they can help students thrive. When children believe in themselves and have a sense that they can overcome obstacles, they are not only more likely to be successful, they are more likely to have the coping skills necessary to effectively handle the disappointment when they are not successful. Click here to read an article from the Child Mind Institute with 12 tips to help students build confidence and help students realize that they can handle whatever comes their way.
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Help for Families

The New Jersey Department of Health Division of Family Development has updated and extended some of the benefits and assistance available to families during this incredibly challenging time. The SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program application process has been simplified and the recertification has been extended. The SNAP benefits have been increased by 15% for January - June 2021. There have been a number of additional updates, which can be found by going to the NJDOH Division of Family Development webpage (click here).
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What Can You Control?

Many young people are feeling stressed and overwhelmed right now. One way to help manage stress is to focus on letting go of things that are not in our control. I usually start talking with students about this in the early elementary grades when we discuss tattling vs. getting help, and recognizing that we cannot always control the behavior of others. Right now, there are many aspects of their lives that students cannot control: school being fully remote, sports and extracurricular activities being canceled, social lives being impacted, etc. But, there are many things that they can control: finding gratitude in small things, connecting with friends in different ways, learning something new, etc. The more they shift their focus away from the things outside of their control, and towards the things within their control, the more they likely they will be to build healthy coping and stress-management skills.
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Signs of Depression During COVID

It is absolutely normal for students to be struggling emotionally right now. We are going on nine months of incredible stress and uncertainty, and there are bound to be huge feelings about it. But, when does it move from the expected ups and downs and frustrations into something more serious like depression? It is important to be able to recognize the signs of depression in children, and I think this article does a good job of helping us do that. To paraphrase the article, "If you see the signs take note. If they last, take action." Click here to read the article.

Dealing with Big Feelings

It is not unusual for children to have a difficult time navigating big emotions, even under the best of circumstances. It is no surprise, then, that managing these big feelings might be even more challenging during these times. As adults, it is important for us to equip ourselves with strategies to help our children cope when they feel overwhelmed. We may be seeing more anger or lashing out than we are accustomed to, and I read an article recently that I thought offered some useful suggestions about how to best help children handle their more difficult emotions. Click here to read the article.
I have updated my webpage to include a virtual office where you will be able to find lessons and other helpful resources! It is a work in progress, so be sure to check in regularly for new information! Click on my bitmoji above to take a look around!
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We are thrilled to incorporate the Second Step social-emotional learning curriculum into our school this year for grades K-8. Second Step is a research-based social-emotional learning program designed to improve students’ social-emotional skills, such as emotion management, impulse control, problem solving, and empathy. Second Step skills and concepts are designed to help students both in and out of school. The curriculum includes an entire Bullying Prevention Unit, and it can be implemented both virtually and in-person!


Grades 6 - 8 will begin the year by focusing on mindsets & goals. We will learn more about developing a growth-mindset, building empathy, creating action plans, and goal-setting!


Grades K - 5 will begin with a focus on respect, assertiveness, empathy, and positive self-talk!