PW School Counselor's Newsletter

September 2022

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Back To School Tips

Help your kids adjust to a new sleep schedule

  • Having a flexible bedtime routine is often part of the summer fun, but it’s important for children to get into a healthy routine before school.
  • The recommended amount of sleep each night is:
    • Children 3 to 5 years: 11 to 13 hours
    • Children 5 to 12 years: 10 to 11 hours
    • Teens 13 to 18 years: 9 to 10 hours
  • The easiest way to adjust a sleep schedule is to move bedtime forward 15 minutes every two or three days.
  • A healthy sleep habit will prepare children for long days of learning.

Help your child manage their stress

  • Going back to school can be stressful, and the first step to helping your kids manage stress is learning to identify how they exhibit stress. Look for difficulty sleeping, tantrums, headaches and other stress indicators.
  • When your child wants to talk about school, listen to them to help learn what could be causing stress, like a bully or an issue with a teacher.
  • Make time for PDF, which stands for Play, Downtime and Family time.

Encourage children to practice good personal hygiene

  • It’s important for children to practice good personal hygiene.
  • Remind children to brush their teeth every morning and night, wash thoroughly in the shower, comb their hair and all other hygiene tasks.
  • Begin instilling good hygiene habits as early as possible with your children.
  • Provide your child with any hygiene items they need, like deodorant and soaps.

Safety during the school year

Remind children to be safe while crossing streets or walking to school

  • It’s extremely important for children and parents to be safe in crosswalks and on sidewalks.
  • You and your kids should always look both ways before crossing the street. You should never look down at your phone in a crosswalk.
  • Children should always stay on the sidewalks while walking to school.
  • As a driver, remember to slow down and be extra alert while driving through school zones.

Warn children about stranger danger

  • Be sure to talk to your kids about strangers. Remind them to never get into a car with anyone but you or close family members whom your children know well.
  • Develop a secret code word with your kids and tell them that anyone who will be picking them up will know the code word.
  • If another person will be picking your child up from school, tell your child and alert the school administration.

Back to school is an exciting time for parents and children, but it can also be stressful. Knowing how to help your children manage stress and be safe and healthy will help them learn better and succeed in school.

Adapted from

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Setting the Stage

As the school year begins, here are some ideas to help make it a successful one for both you and your child.

Get Involved: Engage your child academically by being involved in homework time and asking questions about the school day. When you show your child that you are interested and find these things important, the excitement can be contagious.

Use Reinforcement: Offer rewarding activities and praise (high fives, hugs, and positive feedback) after a set amount of homework time. Breaking homework time into shorter chunks with smaller rewards can also be highly beneficial, especially for younger children and/or children who have a difficult time sustaining attention.

Celebrate Effort Over Outcome: Provide praise for hard work and persisting through difficult activities. This will help to foster the necessary lifelong skills of perseverance and grit in your child.

Let Them Make Mistakes: No one is perfect and it is important that every child learns that from a young age. Mistakes are how we learn. Allowing your child to make mistakes will provide them with an opportunity to learn what they need to do differently next time and also see that they can recover from setbacks.

Create an Allied Relationship with Your Child’s Teacher: Help your child to see that you and the teacher are on the same team. Communication between home and school is important to help demonstrate that all adults are working together to promote success.

Adapted from the following: Nemours KidsHealth.Org Back to School (August 2018) and Child Mind Institute How to Help Your Child Get Motivated in School (2021)

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What is the role of your child's School Counselor?

In the past, the term "guidance counselor" was most common amongst high school students and their families. The student visits their counselor when the when they are applying to colleges, having scheduling conflicts, contemplating their career path, or when the student is struggling either academically or socially.
Society is ever-changing, and we are fortunate enough to provide your child with a school counselor, starting in Pre-K, until their high school graduation.

You may wonder, what role could a school counselor serve at the elementary level? The following statement from the American School Counselor Association explains:

"Elementary school years set the tone for developing the knowledge, attitudes and skill necessary for children to become healthy, competent and confident learners. Through a comprehensive developmental school counseling program, school counselors work as a team with the school staff, parents and the community to create a caring climate and atmosphere. By providing education, prevention, early identification and intervention, school counselors can help all children achieve academic success."

You child's School Counselor works with you, your child's teachers,

administrators, and the student themselves on:

  • Academic support, including organizational, study and test-taking skills
  • Goal setting and decision-making
  • Education on understanding self (including strengths and weaknesses) and others
  • Peer relationships, coping strategies and effective social skills
  • Communication, problem-solving and conflict resolution
  • Multicultural/diversity awareness
  • Transition plans
  • Individual and small-group counseling
  • Individual/family/school crisis intervention
  • Consultation/collaboration
  • Referrals

Your School Counselors are:

Arzu Alkan, Guggenheim Counselor 767-5268

Jen Biblowitz, Sousa Counselor 767-5365

Casey Horowitz, Daly Counselor 767-5219

Gina Kelly, Salem Counselor 767-5425

Barbara O'Donnell, Manorhaven Counselor 767-5325

Jessica Shawver, Daly Pre-K Counselor 767-4954

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10 Questions to Ask Kids About Their Day at School

Get a sense of your child's life at school by asking questions that elicit more than a one-word response.

The trick is to ask about things that are specific, but still open-ended. Move beyond "fine" and "nothing" by asking your kids to describe her world. It's also great to start the conversation with an anecdote from your own day. Try one of these conversation-starters:

    1. Tell me about the best part of your day.

    2. What was the hardest thing you had to do today?

    3. Did any of your classmates do anything funny?

    4. Tell me about what you read in class.

    5. Who did you play with today? What did you play?

    6. Do you think math [or any subject] is too easy or too hard?

    7. What's the biggest difference between this year and last year?

    8. What rules are different at school than our rules at home? Do you think they're fair?

    9. Who did you sit with at lunch?

    10. Can you show me something you learned (or did) today?

    Adapted from

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    Please see the district's Food Service webpage for menus, prices, and information on applying for the Free & Reduced Lunch Program. Over the last 2 years lunch was free for all, at this time families MUST apply to receive Free & Reduced lunch. Please click HERE

    Healthy Eating and Good Nutrition

    How your child eats today will have a striking impact on her health throughout adolescence and adulthood. Consuming nutritious foods helps children and teens grow, develop, do well academically and feel good about themselves. Good nutrition also helps prevent child and teen issues such as eating disorders, obesity, dental cavities and iron-deficiency anemia.

    CHILDHOOD OBESITY PREVENTION According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 25 percent of all children aged 2 to 18 years now meet the criteria for being overweight. Overweight and obese children are at greater risk for major health issues such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, joint pain, high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. Teaching your child good nutrition habits from a young age can decrease the likelihood he will become overweight. Choosing nutrient-dense foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables over empty-calorie foods such as cookies and sodas can help prevent childhood obesity and provide your child a much higher quality of life.

    SUPPORT OPTIMAL GROWTH Children require a variety of nutrient-dense foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meat, fish and adequate calories in order to grow and develop properly. It's crucial that your child is consuming the essential nutrients she needs to grow. Calcium is of particular importance for children. An adequate calcium intake promotes optimal bone density which will assist teen growth and reduce the risk of bone loss in later life. The way children eat influences their growth and health during childhood, during adolescence and for the rest of their lives.

    IMPORTANCE OF A HEARTY BREAKFAST Studies show that children who eat breakfast perform better in school. According to reports from the American Dietetic Association, students who eat breakfast have better problem-solving abilities, recall, memory, verbal fluency and creativity. They are also less likely to be absent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that children who do not eat breakfast, or eat an insufficient breakfast, are more likely to have behavioral, emotional and academic problems at school.

    POOR NUTRITION CONSEQUENCES A healthful diet and good nutrition are crucial in preventing some of the issues inadequate nutrition can cause, such as short stature and delayed puberty, nutrient deficiencies and dehydration, menstrual irregularities, poor bone health, increased risk of injuries, poor academic performance and increased risk of eating disorders. Teaching children the importance of good nutrition throughout childhood will lay the foundation for a healthier more fulfilling life.

    Adapted from: