Counseling During Corona
We want to let you know that we are still accessible to you and your children during this remote learning. To support this we have set up a google classroom. Here we will post suggested activities centered around social and emotional well being. This space will also allow students to speak to each other and us directly. We created two different classes to differentiate materials for the different age ranges. To get into this you will go to google classroom please email us for the class code.
If you would like to reach us our emails are:
Ms. Callender and Ms. Kump
Resources Regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Current events and the news have many of us feeling uncertain and tense right now. This includes children who are looking at us to see how to react to this stressful situation. Check out the below resources for tips on how to speak to your children to ensure they feel safe and secure.
March Focus: ELA State Test
This month we will focus all about the ELA State Test. Below are tips and strategies you should go over with your children.
Remember don't sweat the test! Come to school confident and ready in a comfortable pair of sweat pants on all upcoming testing days. Confidence is one of the most important parts of test taking. Teach your children about the power of personal mantras and positive self talk.
February Focus: Diversity
Tips for Teaching Diversity in the Home
Recognize That Your Child Isn't Color-Blind
As they grow, children look for cues about what different appearances mean and which ones matter. They quickly realize that some things– whether someone wears a hat, for example – are irrelevant while others, such as sex, are significant because we talk about them constantly ("Boys line up on the left, girls on the right"). What about race? Obviously, we don't say, "Good morning, black and white children," or "Asians, go get your backpacks." But even if you never say a word about ethnicity, racial distinctions are plainly visible to kids. "Many communities are highly segregated, which children notice. You'll be driving through town and your preschooler is thinking, 'Oh, here's where the Chinese people live”.
Children's tendency to assign traits based on race accelerates in grade school. So if all the teachers at your child's school are white while only people of color work in the lunchroom and handle security, the inequity will not be lost on your kid. By age 7, most African-American kids believe whites are more likely to hold high-status jobs, according to study findings. "If you don't change your kids' outlook when they're young, they'll come to their own incorrect conclusions,"
Aside from observing skin color, even a preschooler can see that some people are big and others are skinny, that some celebrate Christmas and others Hanukkah, and that certain kids are smarter than others. And if your local gas-station attendant has a thick accent, she'll notice that too.
Are you talking about these differences? Probably not. With a child who is 3 or 4, you can explain that people come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. "You could even try holding up a green apple and a red apple". "Say, 'They look different on the outside, but they're both apples on the inside, just like people.'" Seek out opportunities to demonstrate your respect and appreciation for these contrasts. You might say, "Look at that girl. Aren't her braids pretty?" or, "Did you hear that boy speak Italian to his grandma and then English to his friend? I wish I could speak more than one language."
If your child asks something that makes you squirm, do your best to respond matter-of-factly.
Explain about Stereotypes and Racism
Kids already have certain biases about other cultures by age 5 or 6. Don't be surprised if your child repeats something derogatory she heard at school and asks, "Why do Muslims hate America?" or perpetuates a stereotype by saying, "All Jews are rich." When she does, let her know that while some people in a group may seem to fit a certain description it doesn't mean everyone is that way, that's your cue to introduce the idea of discrimination: "Sometimes people decide that everyone with dark skin is mean or that people who aren't white are bad. That's wrong, and it makes me sad. It's not fair to judge someone without knowing him or her."
Bring up the stereotypes your child sees in movies and on TV. "If you turn the sound off on cartoon shows and ask who's the good guy and who's the bad guy, kids know instantly by the way the characters appear." The solution isn't to stop watching but to point out the problems you see. For instance, you could watch The Little Mermaid, with its enormous villain, Ursula. Then say, "It's a shame that overweight characters are depicted as evil. I know lots of nice people who are heavy."
You should also be honest about the fact that discrimination still exists. "If you talk about past inequalities and then tell your child, 'We've fixed that and we're all equal now,' it can actually encourage prejudicial beliefs because children will see remaining inequalities as the result of how hard people work.
Lead by Example
For your child to become truly open-minded toward all people, you need to be a positive role model. In a study in Child Development, the lone factor shown to reduce children's prejudice was whether their parents had a friend of another race. "If you say, 'We should be friends with all kinds of people' but the only ones who come over for dinner are those who look like you, what's your child going to think?"
Lots of parents talk a good game about embracing diversity, yet subtly communicate something very different. Do you laugh when you hear a joke about a racial group? Are you willing to point out intolerance when you see it? "We know that kids learn from what they see more than from what they hear," Costello says.
Expose Your Child to Diversity Regularly
If you don't have the option of enrolling your child in a diverse school, look for ethnically mixed sports leagues, libraries, and parks. Attend multicultural festivals. Bring home books that depict kids of various backgrounds. Show interest in other religions and cultures, and build friendships with people who don't look like you. "If you want your child to become comfortable dealing with all types of people, you have to take her to places where she's going to encounter them."
Smart Answers to Tough Questions
Field cringe-worthy queries without flinching.
"Why is that man's skin dark?"
"Skin contains something called melanin, which makes us different colors. Some people have more than others. We're all part of a beautiful rainbow, aren't we?"
"Why does that girl talk funny?"
"That's called an accent. Her family came from a country where they speak another language."
"Why is he in a wheelchair?"
"Some people's legs don't work, so they need a chair with wheels to get from place to place."
"Why is that woman so fat?"
"People come in all shapes and sizes, and that's what makes the world such an interesting place."
"Why does that man wear a funny wrap on his head?"
"That's called a turban. He wears it because it's part of his religion, like other people may wear a cross."
February is Black History Month and Respect for all week
February is a busy month packed full of events. It includes Black History month, Respect for all week , Valentine's day and our 100th day of school. We will be celebrating these throughout the month. A letter has gone home to all our families regarding this but more information will be outlined below as well.
School Spirit events:
Wednesday February 12th wear a color that represents your culture to celebrate diversity.
Thursday February 13th wear a P.S. 13 shirt to show we are all on the same team (though we may be different)
Friday February 14th wear pink or red for Valentine's Day
Respect for All Week is February 10- 14. It is the policy of the New York City Department of Education to maintain a safe and supportive learning and educational environment that is free from harassment, intimidation and/or bullying committed by students against other students and discrimination by students against other students on account of actual or perceived race, color, creed, ethnicity, national origin, citizenship/immigration status, religion, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability or weight. (Chancellor’s Regulation A-831 and A-832).
During Respect for All week, we have many activities planned. This includes lessons presented school wide on the topic of Respect, Diversity, Bullying and Online Etiquette/Safety by our School Counselors. Our 4th and 5th grade Student Liaison group members will read themed books on the topics of diversity, friendship and kindness to kindergarten through third grade classes. Some of these books will also themed for Black History month. All week our student leadership group will be giving out bracelets and stickers to those ‘caught’ being kind.
On Friday February 14th we will celebrate National No One Eats Alone Day during lunch. This is a nationwide lunchtime event during which students are encouraged to connect and engage with their peers in order to combat social isolation. Student Liaison members will be going around during upper grade lunch periods to ensure "no one eats alone". This day also marks our 100th day of school. The Student Liaisons are putting together a scavenger hunt style game for all students to take part of.
January Focus: Independence
Promoting Independence in Children
A key task of parenting is raising independent, self-motivated children who are able to appropriately use the support of parents and friends as they grow. You can help your child develop a healthy sense of independence. Independence is an important aspect of your child’s development. From the age of two, children strive for more independence. From this age, you should encourage your child to make simple choices about their lives.
The degree of independence you can expect from your child must be appropriate for their age and abilities will differ with each situation. Children may be more independent in some situations than others.
It can be a common pitfall for busy parents to do things for children that children are capable of doing themselves. Although it may take more time at first for parents to support children to do age-appropriate tasks for themselves, your child's self-confidence and independence will grow as a result.
Ways to encourage appropriate independence:
- Allow your child to make simple choices from a range of options you are prepared to accept. For example, allow your children to have a say in which clothes they will be wearing each day, even if this is limited to basic color selection. Let children make mistakes and support them to learn from them.
- Let children participate in household chores, such as vacuuming, dusting and making beds.
- Develop a responsibility chart, so your children can keep track of the household chores they have completed.
- Let children know you are interested in their thoughts and ideas. Ask their opinions on things that interest them and have to do with them.
- Respect your child's decisions; whenever possible.
- Help children understand the impact of their choices.
- Teach children problem solving skills – encourage them to think about what they could do to fix the problem rather than telling them what to do.
- Provide positive support for your child in situations that may be challenging.
- Encourage and praise children’s attempts to do things for themselves no matter what the outcome.
- Provide age-appropriate toys so that children can learn to play by themselves for short periods of time.
- Help children take responsibility for packing up their toys.
- Teach older children to use a watch and incorporate time in some directions you give. For example "You can go next door to play, but I want you to be home by 4:30."
- Help children to set achievable goals and work toward achieving those goals.
Info source: bringingupgreatkids.org literature grammar correction: LWilson
December Focus: Gratitude
Don’t forget to be thankful. Did you know that adults, children and adolescents who report strong feelings of gratitude and thankfulness are less likely to develop mental health issues like stress, anxiety and depression? Even more importantly, people who feel more gratitude also tend to be healthier, more optimistic and even happier in general. With Thanksgiving passing and Christmas right around the corner there are several activities that families might want to consider doing together to help everyone feel more gratitude:
(1) Express appreciation: just simply saying out loud the things that make you feel grateful has a positive effect and when kids hear parents expressing appreciation they are more likely to do it themselves. Just remember to be as specific as possible, for example “I am so grateful all the kids remembered to hang up their towels after getting out of the shower tonight!”
(2) Gratitude jar: similar to expressing appreciation, when anything lovely happens in the home, just say "I am so grateful for this!” and then write down what happened on a slip of paper and add it to a jar. Children and parents can participate in writing down and adding things to the jar and everyone can join together to read all those slips of paper as a special family ritual.
(3) Help kids write thank you letters: Parents and children can have a conversation about all the people who did something really nice or helpful this year and then choose 2-3 people and write them a nice thank you card and deliver it in person or through the mail. If possible try to think about people who don’t always get recognized or appreciated for everything they do to help others.
By: School Mental Health Team
November Focus: Morning Routines
Don’t Fear the Morning Routine
Getting our kids up and ready for school every morning can be a terrifying process for any family and all families will find it frightening from time to time.
Here are some common questions and answers that can make the whole adventure a little less scary.
How much sleep is enough?
If your kids let out a bloodcurdling scream every time you wake them up maybe they are not sleeping enough. There is no one right answer, but the general guidelines are 9-11 hours of sleep each night for children ages 6-13, with a little more sleep needed for younger kids and a little less for teenagers.
What is the best way to wake up my kids?
If your kids walk around like zombies after getting out of bed try letting in some natural light by raising blinds or opening curtains before you wake them up; and it is always a good idea to provide a buffer zone of 5-10 minutes for children to stay in bed after waking.
What about after they get out of bed?
If getting your kids to complete basic tasks feels like a beastly struggle try using a step-by-step written checklist to keep children focused on getting ready. Start with something simple like: eat breakfast, brush teeth, get dressed, pack backpack, and then add more steps as kids get used to using it. And don’t be afraid to use written schedules with older kids too, even teenagers will appreciate the added structure in the morning.
What should I do the night before?
The night before…
Prepare Breakfast and Lunch
Take clothes out for school with assistance from your Child.
Pack backpack/sign school slips
See this chart for a morning routine chart to create independence in your child:
October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month
To celebrate Bullying Prevention Awareness Month we will be wearing blue on Friday October 25th. On this day students in the upper grades will be participating in No One Eats Alone day during their lunch period. At this time they will be encouraged to sit with students they do not normally sit with. Our Student Leaders are working right now to come up with more activities for this day to help promote unity in our school.
At home you may want to look into some of the resources provided below. They will outline some of the different aspects of bullying with a large focus on cyber bullying and internet safety. As technology has become such a big part of day to day life it is important you are aware of how to keep your children safe online.
Take a look at the resources below to learn about the importance of good attendance in schools. As we start our year we want to create good habits to support ongoing success all year long.
This fun video is something you can watch with your child and it emphasizes the importance of showing up.
These resources from the NYC Department of Education will tell you more about the potential consequences poor attendance can have on your child's education.
If you are concerned about your child's attendance and are looking for support please reach out to the guidance department at any time.
- Your School Counselors