I spend time with small groups of students (3-5), for 30 minutes at a time, from the Stargazer, Centaur and Badger classrooms. We use art and symbols to explore sharing, friendship, personal space, boundaries, body language, hurt feelings, range of emotions, and calming techniques. I also spend time in the classroom, leading activities that can help students explore some of these issues, and also hear other students' experiences.
Parenting is fun, difficult, creative, inspiring, harrowing, devastating, impressive, humbling, peaceful and chaotic. It is everything. Sometimes we feel that if we pulled all of hair out, we would feel better. Or if our child, partner / co- parent, or self would act, be, speak in a certain way things would be easier. During better moments we see the perfection and beauty in the unique talents and refreshing perspective that our child has to offer. It is important to allow ourselves the space to reflect on what parts of parenting nourishes our souls, and what parts are at times excruciating. I offer support for parents to help create strategies to decrease misunderstanding and increase parent-child collaboration, and I can provide referrals to supportive services in town.
Sometimes personal experiences in a student's life becomes overwhelming to the point that s/he is unable to succeed in school. These experiences may be from the past, at school or at home, or presently happening (such as a sibling moving out of the house, parental conflict or separation, or loss of a loved one). Sometimes a student has difficulty relating to his/her peers, and is unsure of how to be a friend or how to make friends. There are students who have difficulty paying attention to the directives given by their teacher, and need an advocate to help strategize and support learning in the classroom. I see students individually to support their emotional health which allows for academic and interpersonal success. I see some students weekly for the duration of the school year. Others I see a few times to focus on a specific issue until it is resolved, such as an argument between friends. Teachers also refer students to me when they notice that an individual is having internal or interpersonal difficulty, which can look like isolation, arguments, lack of focus or follow through, and emotional outbursts. I include parents in the general themes that are being explored. Confidentiality is important when it comes to counseling, both for the student as well as for her/his family.
Health & Wellness
Health and Wellness is an all year course for Centaurs and Badger. Dina Jansen and I, co-create and lead the course. Students study the basics of health and wellness, learning to make informed decisions concerning their physical, mental and social health.Throughout the course, students discuss and practice making wise health decisions and building healthy relationships. I also co-lead "Life Skills" with Dina for the 7th & 8th grade students.
8th Grade 2014
Eighth grade is a big year for students. All are moving towards a large transition (High School), and saying good-bye to many friends, some of whom they may have been going to school with for many years! Paying attention and honoring an ending is important. Acknowledging and understanding one's experience of an ending is an adaptive skill, as life is full of a myriad of endings. In March of 2014, I started spending time with the 8th grade for an hour every week, we got to know each other through art, acting, and talking. We talked about endings, and how sometimes we want to pretend that they aren't coming, which can cause us to "act out." Some ways that "acting out" can be seen in 8th graders include: more than usual emotional outbursts, conflicts with friends, unhealthy coping strategies (an increased use of screen time, eating, etc). Together, we planned and executed a "Legacy Shelter," a gift to the school with an undeniable imprint of that particular 8th grade's personality, and an active creation of a good-bye.
I put together a video slideshow of the project. I hope you enjoy!