Guidance Counseling Update By Sarah Greenstein, School Counselor
During this week of showcasing the incredible learning that takes place at SDJA, we wanted to take a minute to communicate a bit of what we’ve been learning during our regular Guidance lessons as we dive deeper into our social emotional learning curriculum.
In Kinder-2nd grade, each guidance lesson begins with a Mindful Moment during which we practice bringing our attention to the present moment through focused attention on our breath, our sensations, or our feelings. This allows students to cultivate the tools to self-regulate, to cope with difficult moments, and to relate better to their peers.
For 3rd-5th grade, we expand our mindfulness learning to include a basic understanding of the neuroplasticity of the brain as well as elements of self-compassion and empathy development. In addition to regular breathing exercises and the use of the senses to cultivate feelings of calm, focus and wellbeing, students also develop loving-kindness statements that they can direct inwards towards the self in challenging moments as well as outwards, towards others in moments of compassion. This year, in all grades, we have also had the expert facilitation of theater and drama games, led by PK Brannon, to help create a safe space for team building, confidence and emotional expression.
Following our Mindful Moment, we then use books, games and activities to explore our core topics with the following areas of focus.
Kindergarten– 2nd grade
Zones of regulation (framework for identifying and expressing feelings)
Rock brain vs. Superflex (creative way to consider modes of thinking that can either make us stuck or help us be flexible and able to problem solve)
Kelso’s Choices (introduction to problem-solving and conflict resolution)
Positive characteristics of friendship
Power of words to help build each other up, rather than put each other down
Self-awareness of personal strengths, interests and aspects of identity
Point of view and perspective taking
Team work and community building
Third Grade-Fifth grade
Power of words, focusing on intention vs. impact
Exploring feelings about differences in self and others, including aspects of identity, community, family, interests and opinions
Introduction to stereotypes and judgments
Building a community that is inclusive, accepting, welcoming and caring. . . in line with our involvement as an ADL No Place for Hate school
If you would like more detailed information or resource materials to help explore these topics further with your children, don’t hesitate to ask. We hope you join us for the upcoming Mindful and Conscious Parenting workshop on Monday morning, January 28th at 8:15am as well as our WeCare Consortium featured guest speaker, Dr. Christopher Willard, Mindfulness psychologist, expert and speaker coming to SDJA on February 5th and 6:00pm.
Sarah Greenstein (KB, 1A, 1B, 2A, 3A/B, 4A/B, 5A/B)