Wellness Wednesday

Your Counselor - Ms. Mutter, & PBSES Coach - Ms. Kusunose

From Ms. Kusunose

Hello Newcastle Families! I am curious to hear about last week’s JOY Challenge. What challenges did your child or your family do? I know that my own two children bring me joy and so does cooking, so I challenged myself to cook up new meals we can all enjoy together. This week some of my kids’ favorites include a mixed sushi rice dish, curried potatoes and broccoli salad, and chicken vegetable soup form scratch. Feel free to share your JOY challenges with me!

Today, we are exactly 2 months from our last day together in the building. SOCIAL CONNECTION is the focus this week. It involves feeling in touch with family, friends, and a part of a community. Sometimes you will hear the phrase, “social capital” in place of “social connection” because this valuable resource supports a more fulfilling life.

While we are at home, what are ways of cultivating social connections, following the “Stay at Home” mandate, and social distance? Skills that support empathy, gratitude, compassion, and forgiveness all play into making better social connections.


For Student:

Set up time to “meet” with a friend or a small group of friends. Ask an adult to help set this up! Zooming, Facetime, or phone calls are only a few ways to distance meet.

Some ideas I have tried with my nephew and sister in California:


  • Read a book together
  • Eat lunch and talk
  • Play a game (example: Pictionary, Yahtzee!, or card games)
  • Art project together!


For Student & Family:

Listen to music together. Music raises oxytocin levels and research suggests it helps strengthen family and peer bonds. Talking about feelings around the music, the lyrics, and the musicians can be fun to do. You can move to the music too!


For Family:

Article: Fostering Social Connections

Brene Brown's EMPATHY 2:53

Social Connections NC

From Ms. Mutter

One of the best things about school for most kids, is the opportunity to socialize (and, one of the best things about being an educator, is building meaningful connections with students - we SO miss our students!). Most of us are feeling socially deprived, and it can definitely have an impact on our overall wellbeing. Social Connection has many benefits for kids: play facilitates cognitive development, social skills, and a sense of morality. Perhaps most important, is that social connection curbs feelings of loneliness, which can have an adverse impact on physical and emotional health.

A bright side in this time of quarantine, is we are now being challenged to get creative about ways to stay connected, and to appreciate the smallest connections, sometimes with people we have never met. For example: Today I was "social distance walking" (mask and all) and saw so many messages of hope and encouragement in windows of homes and businesses, and I even got a smile and a wave from a kiddo looking out the window of her home. It made my day :)

If you are looking for inspiration, I came upon an article here, that has a number of fun and creative ideas for keeping our kids connected. Many of our teachers are offering zoom meetings, small groups, and ways to connect with peers on Seesaw. I also want to share that Ms. Kusunose and I are offering Lunch Bunches! See the below video for a quick blurb on what this is and how you can ensure you/your child has this opportunity to connect!

Lunch Bunch!
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** Note: If you have complications with accessing our available district food supports (or know someone who does), or if you are needing school supplies, please reach out to Ms. Mutter and she will assist in finding a solution that best meets your needs**