RVES School Counselor Corner
What Happened This Month at Riverview Elementary School
What is Cooperation??
This month we focused on the first letter in CARES – COOPERATION. Cooperation is the students’ ability to establish new relationships, maintain positive relationships and friendships, avoid social isolation, resolve conflicts, accept differences, be a contributing member of the classroom and school community, and work productively and collaboratively with others.
Cooperation looks like:
- Working with others
- Being patient
- Sharing materials
- Taking turns
- Supporting each other
- Listening to others needs
How to Promote Cooperation at Home
Help kids understand what cooperation means. Cooperation is a big word and a complicated skill. One way to help kids cooperate is to break this complex skill down into smaller, easier to understand steps. For example, you could tell your child cooperation means 1) taking turns, 2) working together, and 3) sharing.
Model cooperation skills at home and with friends. Modeling not only helps teach kids what cooperation looks like, it also demonstrates your belief in the importance and value of cooperation. When you cooperate, your kids will likely follow your lead.
Role-play how to cooperate. Role-playing can be a great way to teach cooperation because it allows parents to support their child’s skill development, no matter how advanced or challenged.
Use specific praise to encourage children’s efforts to cooperate. When parents pay attention to their child’s cooperation skills, their child is more likely to use these skills again in the future. Specifically acknowledging good cooperation skills can keep them growing and developing.
Plan activities that encourage kids to cooperate. Even though cooperating can be difficult, it can also be fun. One way parents can make cooperation fun is by planning games and activities that encourage kids to work together.
Classroom CARES Lessons
After listening to the story, we talked about what cooperation looks like and how working together as a team shows cooperation. Since teams come in all shapes and sizes, we encouraged students to think about all of the teams that they might be on:
- Classroom Team
- Kindergarten Team
- Riverview Team
- Sports/Activity Team
Students then had an opportunity to color and decorate their own 'Little Blue Truck'.
We then practiced cooperation by doing an activity and wrapped up two students in each class with a streamer to create a mummy! Each team had to work together and pass the streamer directly to the person next to them and slowly wrap a person to look like a mummy. It proved challenging for students to have the patience to wait their turn, as they wanted to quickly reach their goal! Students worked together, and several classes also came up with a few tricks to speed up the process (e.g. standing up, having the mummy spin around). Ask your child if they used these tricks and practiced cooperation!
We then put our cooperation skills to the test! Students formed a circle, and had to pass a ball (or two!) around the circle as quickly as possible – making sure that everyone had a chance to pass the ball! It got a little tricky when two balls were being passed around in opposite directions - especially when we were passing them behind our backs!! This was a fantastic way for students to work with one another to achieve a common goal.
Students then had a chance to practice cooperation by working together in a team in an activity called "Saving Fred". In groups, students were given a gummy worm and a gummy lifesaver. They then had to save Fred by getting the gummy worm into the lifesaver (life raft) without using their hands!! Ask your child if their group was able to save Fred!! This activity involved cooperating as a team, while also accepting the ideas of others and working through various obstacles to reach their goal.
This month in grades 4 and 5, we learned about the Peace Path! The Peace Path is a conflict-resolution tool that helps students come up with solutions themselves; it offers insightful steps that shift the focus back to student empowerment by using basic problem-solving principles. Teaching students how to talk about their emotions is hard. A great way to start is to have students explain their emotions is by using “I-Statements”.
Using the Peace Path, students who are working through a conflict are prompted to tell each other how they are feeling using “I feel" statements, why they are feeling that way, and what they can each do to make the situation better. The Peace Path helps change the way students think about the conflict. Instead of accusatory language, it encourages students to think about their feelings. Also, by expressing how the student is feeling, the student is not making any judgments about the person they are disagreeing with, so there is no need to become defensive! We look forward to implementing this new tool schoolwide!
The students who listened to the story Pumpkin Soup also completed the mummy activity. Each team had to work together and pass a streamer directly to the person next to them and slowly wrap a person to look like a mummy. It proved challenging for students to have the patience to wait their turn, as they wanted to quickly reach their goal! Students worked together, and several classes also came up with a few tricks to speed up the process (e.g. standing up, having the mummy spin around). Ask your child if they used these tricks and practiced cooperation!
The students who learned about the Peace Path practiced "I feel" statements, as the Peace Path is a tool that allows students to work through a conflict. Using this tool, students are prompted to tell each other how they are feeling, why they are feeling that way, and what they can each do to make the situation better. The Peace Path helps change the way students think about the conflict. Ask your child what they know about the Peace Path!
Need Additional Support?
Individual counseling is available to students to address your child’s needs, concerns and other barriers to learning (e.g. anxiety, difficulty with peers, family change, etc.). These sessions are conducted one-on-one with the school counselor, typically once per week. These sessions are short-term in nature, and are utilized to address any immediate needs and subsequently monitor student progress. Individual counseling referrals for students can be made through the request of a student, parent, or teacher.
Should a student need on-going therapy, we also have a school-based mental health therapist that can visit your child during their school day. A self-referral can be made through the Associated Clinic of Psychology (ACP), or you can reach out to your school counselors to make a referral on your behalf. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have additional questions!