Counselor's Corner

Liz Parker, School Counselor, Hominy Valley Elementary

Dear HVE Families,

Can you believe we've already finished a quarter of the year? I hope that some aspects of our unusual school year are starting to feel easier and more manageable for you and your family, and I hope you'll let me know if there is something I can do to help support your child, whether it's face-to-face or over a computer screen. Here are some ideas and resources I thought you might find helpful!

- Ms. P

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Calm Spots

One feature of all of our classrooms at HVE is a Calm Spot. This is a designated area where any student can go and take a break to calm down if they start to feel overwhelmed. (The teachers sometimes use it too!) Since part of life involves getting upset from time to time, we want to normalize the action of recognizing your feelings, taking a break, and using strategies to take care of yourself. This is an important social-emotional skill!

Since your child is doing at least part of their learning at home, you might want to consider setting a calm spot in your home as well. Is there a place where your child feels comfortable, and can have some space away from other people? Are there tools you could put there for your child to use, like paper and colored pencils for drawing, toys to fidget with, or stuffed animals to hug? Our calm spots at school all have a Hoberman sphere (the spiky expanding ball pictured above) that we can use to model deep breathing. Perhaps you could model for your child how to take a break and take some breaths in the calm spot next time you're feeling overwhelmed. Parenting in a pandemic isn't easy - you might find it the calm spot helps you too!

Listening Circles

One of the most powerful things I get to do as a counselor is sit with a group of students while they talk to each other and realize that they're not alone in the struggles they're experiencing. Resources for Resilience, a great resource in our community, is hosting listening circles for parents, caregivers, and educators, to talk about the struggles they're facing right now. The listening circles are held online via zoom, they're free, and you can attend as many sessions as you like. Here's a link to the calendar where you can find zoom links for each session, if you think this is something that might be helpful to you, a friend, or a family member:

Homework from Ms. Parker

  • Feeling generous? Contact me if you'd like to contribute some wish list items to make our calm spots around the school even more inviting.
  • Make time in your schedule to take a walk outside today. Our fall this year has been particularly warm and lovely, and the sound of leaves crunching under your feet is so satisfying!
  • Have you checked your child's winter coat from last year to see if it still fits? If you have any outgrown coats that are clean and in good shape and would fit an elementary-aged child, I'd love it if you dropped them by the school! We try to keep a stash of coats on hand for students who may need one.
  • Take some deep breaths, and focus on how your body feels with each inhale and exhale. There are a lot of things to feel anxious about lately, and taking a moment to pause and focus on your breath is a great way to pull yourself out of "what ifs" and other anxious thoughts and back to focusing on the present.
  • Watch this video: It's my favorite kid-friendly video about what happens in your brain when you lose control of your emotions, and it is useful information for both kids and adults!
  • Let me know how I can support you and your student!