Connecting with Mrs. Cohen

May 2, 2021

Good Evening,

Can you believe it is already MAY? As we move into this first week of May, we will be finishing up our MAP testing of all 3rd-5th students.

This week I will be wrapping up the SEL - CASEL overview. The last of the CASEL 5 Core Competencies, responsible decision making, is our focus this week. Read below how you can help nurture responsible decision making in your child.

Research shows that social and emotional competencies can be taught, modeled, and practiced and also lead to positive student outcomes that are important for success in school and in life. Many years of research studies demonstrate the following benefits of SEL:

  • Improvement in students’ social and emotional skills, attitudes, relationships, academic performance, and perceptions of classroom and school climate
  • Decline in students’ anxiety, behavior problems, and substance use
  • Long-term improvements in students’ skills, attitudes, prosocial behavior, and academic performance
  • Wise financial investment according to cost-benefit research

This week I am also sharing an opportunity for all families. Our PTO Robinson Cares Committee is offering Summer Essential Bags for a third year. The bags include things like sunscreen, bug spray, sidewalk chalk and bubbles. Please fill out the form included in this message if you would like one for your family. You can also reach out to any of us on the counseling team-- our information is included at the end of this message.

REPEAT:Our entire counseling team is approaching the MAP testing window with an "all hands on deck" attitude. Since some of us will serve as proctors, we will need to be flexible in our schedules and how we see students. If your child mentions that they checked in with a counselor who is not their "typical" one, that is the reason.

Our counseling team information is listed at the end of this message. Please reach out to any of us if we can be helpful with your child. If we take a bit longer to return your calls or emails, this it due to changes in our scheduling as well as volume. We appreciate your patience.

Thanks and have a wonderful week,



In a nutshell, responsible decision making is the ability to make good choices. This includes being able to make caring and constructive choices about our behavior and our social interactions across a variety of situations. Our decisions have benefits and consequences which connect to our personal, social, and collective well-being.

Here are some ways to promote responsible decision making at home:

Show your kids that you'll always love and support them

Adults and children make bad choices at times, and supporting your child through hard decisions and poor choices shows you love them unconditionally. Of course, you want to point out that some choices are not acceptable, but if your child makes the same mistake again, make sure to reinforce you still love him or her. You can also help them make up for those mistakes. Did your child hurt a friend? Have them write an apology note and ask for forgiveness. They can also ask how to make things right.

Give your child room to make decisions alone

Some decisions like which book to read at bedtime or whether your child wants carrots or sweet potatoes with dinner are not big choices for you, but allowing them the choice will make them feel more involved and give them more autonomy. Also, give them room to make decisions even if they don't make a choice you agree with, as long as the consequences don’t affect their health or safety. Letting children learn from their own mistakes is a great teaching opportunity that they will likely remember longer than if you had simply said “no” from the beginning.

Talk to your child about consequences

This can help give your child the tools they can use to make their own decisions in the future. Ask them questions like, “What do you think will happen if we don’t wear our coats outside today?” or, “If you don’t go to sleep on time, what do you think you’ll be like at school tomorrow?” Taking another person’s perspective enhances the quality of your child’s decision-making because, in order for your child to make the best decision, they must be able to understand how it will affect others. Learning that there are consequences for actions that affect your child and others is a good way to promote empathy and responsible decision-making.

Use bedtime stories to talk about responsible decisions

Books that center on characters that have to make decisions are a great option. Pause when the characters get to the problem. Ask your child what they think the character should do, and what they think will happen. Talk about the problem as you’re reading, using terms like, “How would you solve this problem?” or, “What is the problem again?” This is a great opportunity to ask your child about the problems they have faced recently and how they were able to solve them.

Explain to your child that different rules apply in different settings

For example, inside or quiet voices need to be used in places like libraries and movie theaters, but cheering or loud yelling can be appropriate when watching sports or playing them. This allows your child to understand the differences in situations that can impact their decision-making.

Talk about a decision you are currently making

For example, you could focus on things like what you’re planning to buy at the grocery store. Talk through your plans for making dinners, what ingredients you think you’ll need, and why you’ll choose what you will. Why are you going to make tacos instead of pasta? What are the health implications of the items you’re buying and why do you choose them? This gives an opportunity for your child to see the decision-making process in action and understand that even simple decisions like what brand of tomato sauce to buy have reasoning behind them. Alternatively, you may make a choice that doesn’t have reasoning behind it, like choosing a sweet potato over a plain potato. Letting your child see that some decisions can’t be explained will be a comfort at this young age when your child is likely unable to give a reason behind most of their decisions.

* All Information taken from: Maurice Elias, Jennifer Miller, and Michele Borba.

Video about Responsible Decision Making

Children can make responsible decisions by developing the ability to analyze a situation, understand its ethical implications, and evaluate the consequences.


CASEL’S SEL FRAMEWORK: What Are the Core Competence Areas and Where Are They Promoted?


Summer is almost here and that means fun in the sun and a lot of time to play and relax.

It can also mean extra expenses as the kids are home every day and things like sunscreen and bug spray quickly add up!

The PTO Robinson Cares Committee is once again offering summer essentials bags

to our families. Bags will have summer necessities as well as some fun activities

to keep the kids’ busy on hot days. If you would like to receive a bag for your family,

please fill out this form by May 10th or call one of our counselors at 213-6100.

Robinson Counseling Team

Indria Harris

School Counselor, preK-2nd grade

314-213-6100, ext. 4061

Julie Cohen

School Counselor, 3rd-5th grade

314-213-6100, ext. 4040

Tonya Ampey-Elong

Social Worker, KSD

314-213-6100, ext. 8060

Ana Shields

Educational Support Counselor