Counselor's Corner

Hillside Elementary: February and March


Dear Hillside Families,

During February and March, our ongoing school-wide theme has been friendship skills. In our Second Step lessons, students have been learning friendship skills, which include inviting others to play, playing in fair ways, taking responsibility for mistakes (by making amends), and handling name-calling assertively. These skills help students make and keep friends. During the students' February counseling lessons, Mrs. Snyder has been meeting with students to enhance our Second Step friendship unit. Her lessons include teaching students steps to make friends and maintain friendships, as well as the characteristics of a good friendship. Characteristics of a good friendship include kindness, honesty, respect, and inclusion. Our children have been learning how speaking positively and kindly to others, peaceful resolution of conflicts, and having empathy lead to a shared friendship that is reciprocal in nature. If you notice your child using friendship skills, please give them praise and reinforcement.

This past month we celebrated Kindness week during February 10th-14th. Thank you to parents, students, and staff for participating in this special week! Our school was filled with smiles, laughter, and "buckets were filled." A special thank you goes out to Student Council and Safety Patrol for their help in organizing daily morning announcements, teamwork activities, and kind notes to teachers and staff, as well as for giving out many compliments to all. Safety Patrol announced that our Hillside school community had a total of 1,606 total kind acts for the week. Additionally, they were thrilled to announce that the grade with the most kind acts was 4th grade! This week-long special event fostered an environment that values the importance of being kind all year round! Way to go, Hillside!

Thank you, as always, for your continued support!

Warm regards,

Counseling Department:

Dr. Bloom, School Psychologist

Mr. Forcinito, School Psychologist

Mrs. Snyder, School Counselor

Big picture

Why Friendship Skills Matter:

Students who are rejected by peers are at risk for negative outcomes, including worse academic performance. By learning and practicing how to invite others to join in, students can help make sure their peers are included. Sharing, trading, and taking turns promote fairness and mutual enjoyment so students are less likely to use aggressive solutions. When asked to brainstorm solutions to interpersonal problems, socially competent students typically offer more prosocial solutions and fewer aggressive ones.

Helpful Resources:

Friendship/Kindness Books:

All Kinds of Friends, by Norma Simon

Making Friends Is an Art, by Julia Cook

Friendshape, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

The Many Colors of Friendship, by Rita Kaye Vetsch

Rulers of the Playground, by Joseph Kuefler

Enemy Pie, by Derek Munson

How to Grow a Friend, by Sara Gillingham

Big Friends, by Linda Sarah

The Jelly Donut Difference, by Maria Dismondy

Be Kind, by Pat Zietlow Miller