School Counselling at CCS

 Mrs. Schinkel

Mrs. Schinkel RP, MC:AT

Registered Psychotherapist, Art Therapist

School Counsellor
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Office Hours: Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday; 8:30-3:30

School Counselling Services: the aim of the school counselling program is to address academic, social, emotional, and developmental needs of students. All students can benefit from support from school counselling services, promoting mental health and wellness either within their classroom, within a group, or individually. The goal of the individual sessions is to assess and evaluate their functioning and provide short term skills building for emotions and managing stress. 

Referral Guide: Students can be referred by teacher, parents, admin, or self-referral. Students are offered 3-6 visits with the School Counsellor (SC), unless determined otherwise.The school counsellor will assess whether more visits are needed or whether students/families may be referred for long term counselling support within the community. Students over 12 have the right to seek confidential counselling, without the consent of a parent (Child and Family Services Act). 

June 2022 - References from InTouch article                                      

I wrote an article this month for the InTouch the impact of pornography. Below are the references that were used in the article:

Parent presentation - It's time we talked (itstimewetalked.com)




February 2022 - National School Counselling Week                            

Did you know that CCS is 1 of 6 Christian Schools in Ontario that has a school counsellor? These school counsellors meet monthly for peer supervision and consultation so that they can continue to provide the best support for students and families. 
What does your school counsellor do for you:
  • Focus on student care, mental health & wellness, belonging, social and emotional development
  • Design and deliver school wide social-emotional learning (SEL) programs and curriculum that can improve student outcomes and provide learning for ALL students about tools to identify, express, and manage their emotions in healthy ways
  • Assess students social/emotional needs and challenges
  • Provide short term individual counselling support to students as needed
  • Consult and collaborate with educators, staff, and parents related to student social-emotional needs
  • Advocate for student social and emotional needs
  • Provide resources for and connect families to the community for long term supports
  • Stay up to date with professional development to increase knowledge for evidence based practice
If your child is struggling with social, emotional, or behavioural concerns that are impacting their success at school, reach out to our school counsellor, Mrs. Tricia Schinkel (Registered Psychotherapist, Art Therapist - RP, MC:AT)

January 2022 - Return to On-line Learning                                          

The New Year has brought us back to virtual learning again and with that comes many mixed emotions. I am thankful to continue to offer virtual support to individual students, as needed, as well as provide support to classrooms by visiting and providing some teaching related to Social Emotional Learning (SEL). If your child is struggling with some big emotions during this time, please reach out for some virtual support. 

Do not be discouraged!  

Mental health resources:

School Mental Health Ontario - easy and fun mental health activities for home

Parents and Families - COVID-19 - School Mental Health Ontario (smho-smso.ca)

Faith and Wellness - A Daily Mental Health Resource (smho-smso.ca)

If in crisis: 

Call 911 or Go to McMaster Children's Hospital ER: CHYMES (Child and Youth Mental Health Emergency Services)

COAST crisis support  905-972-8338 or 1-844-972-8338 

KIDS HELP PHONE 1-888-668-6868

May 2021 - Mental Health Awareness Week                               

May 3-9 is Mental Health Week, and the goal is to emphasize that we all have menal health and just like physical, learning about mental health and how to care of our mental health is important. The Grade 8 student wellnes team has helped put together some daily activities and tips and facts to bring awareness to mental health and four areas of overall wellness: emotional, spiritual, physical and social.

**All activities are Optional ** 



(Emotional Wellness)

(Spiritual wellness)

(Physical Wellness)

(Social Wellness)


Introduce Mental Health & Wellness Week

#Get Real about how you Feel


Healthy ways to express that emotion

Acts of Kindness

Physical Activity & Relaxation

Social Time


Talking Mental Health (subtitled) - YouTube


The boy with big feelings book: https://video.link/w/8HNpc

Why Do We Lose Control of Our Emotions? - YouTube

Jeopardy game:

Find Jeopardy Games About emotional health (jeopardylabs.com)

Kindness wall - google whiteboard (write positive messages; scripture verses; quotes, picture collage - be creative)

Yoga pose challenge: who can hold tree pose as long as you can. Repeat “Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10

Play a fun game with your class:

Go noodle

pictionary with Jamboard

Code names




make a stress balloon

How to Make a Stress Ball: 5 Easy Steps to Make a DIY Stress Ball (onelittleproject.com)

Feelings Hopscotch: Make a game of hopscotch with feelings in each square. hop to that square (sidewalk chalk - walk the talk)

Creative Art Challenge: make a piece of art that has positive messages (on sidewalk; on a card to a neighbour, in a text message, with a phone call, with a silly song)

Daily physical activity: walk, bike ride, skipping, trampoline, rollerblade, dance, yoga, walk your dog

Play a fun virtual game with friends or family: 

Online pictionary example: Drawful2

About – Jackbox Games

Write an encouraging note with someone you don’t usually connect with

FaceTime a friend


Good mental health isn’t about being happy all the time. In fact, a mentally healthy life includes the full range of human emotions—even the uncomfortable ones like sadness, fear and anger.

- CMHA (key messages fact sheet)

Emotional well-being includes recognizing what influences our emotions, discovering how our emotions affect the way we think or act, taking action when our emotional response isn’t helpful and learning to accept them.

  • CMHA 

Self control means exercising restraint over our thoughts, emotions, actions, impulses, and desires. 

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,

And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.

  • Proverbs 16:32

Naming, talking and writing about our emotions helps to regulate them by decreasing our anger or fear response. 

  • CMHA

Relying on others and sharing our very normal feelings of sadness, fear and worry is hugely important during this unusual time of stress, uncertainty and loss.

  • CMHA

MHW2021 Homepage - Canadian Mental Health Association (mentalhealthweek.ca)

January 2021 -Virtual Social Emotional Learning (SEL)Support

This new year has brought us back to virtual learning and with that comes both joy and struggles. I am thankful to continue to offer virtual support to individual students, as needed, as well as provide support to classrooms by visiting and providing some teaching related so SEL. If your child is struggling with some big emotions during this time, please reach out for some virtual support. 

Here are some additional mental health resources that you may find helpful (also scroll down for more resources previously posted):

Parents and Families - COVID-19 - School Mental Health Ontario (smho-smso.ca)

Faith-at-Home Resources & Online Activities for Families | The Presbyterian Church in Canada

Faith and Wellness - A Daily Mental Health Resource (smho-smso.ca)

Create a cozy calming corner at home:

How to Make the Ultimate Calming Corner - Self-Regulation (hes-extraordinary.com)

Calming corner checklist:

Every day is full of emotions. Sometimes I might feel… 

God gave me all my emotions and all my emotions are ok but not all my actions are ok.

To help me I can try:

I am ready to return to my task: YES  

December 2020 - Mental Health over the Holidays                       

Heading into the holidays can be a stressful time of year and to add to the stress this year, there are the constant health updates that bombard us wherever we go. Here are some tips to take care of your mental health and the mental health of your children. Merry Christmas from Mrs. Schinkel - May you find rest and peace in Him this season! 
"When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me great joy" Psalm 94:19
Seven tips to get ready for the holidays by Children's Mental Health Ontario
https://cmho.org/seven-tips-to -get-ready-for-the-holidays/

November 2020 Update                                               

West 5th Campus Wellness Wall

This is my second year as school counsellor and what a different year it has been so far. I continue to learn about the strengths and needs of the school, the students, and the community. Over the last three months, I have been visiting all the classrooms to talk about my role as School Counsellor and to continue teaching about the Zones of Regulation. The Zones of Regulation is a school wide initiative that students began learning about last year, to increase social and emotional well-being by learning how to label, express, and manage emotions. I have created a Wellness Wall at West 5th campus to use as a space to keep students engaged with the Zones concepts. I also continue to meet with individual students, as needed, for short term coaching and skill building.

I have been able to support Unity campus on Tuesday mornings and another initiative that I have been a part of is creating a Student Wellness Team. This is a team of several grade 8 students who are interested in promoting student health and wellness (focus on physical, mental/emotional, spiritual, social) throughout the year. These grade 8 students have been meeting with myself and Mr. Maughan weekly and are engaging in discussions about how to facilitate wellness themed activities. A few of the students have done a wonderful job of creating a Wellness Wall at Unity. 

Unity Campus Wellness Wall

In addition, I am a part of the committee to address Diversity and Belonging and I continue to learn and explore ways that we can increase belonging for all of our students. We recently read and discussed the book Unconscious Bias in Schools, which was an extremely helpful resource for exploring the ways our systemic and unconscious biases impact students. 

I have also been helping to organize the CARE team (Caring Assistants Regarding Emergencies), a proactive crisis response team that has been developed many years ago and continues to operate when/if a crisis arises. The team consists of several parent professionals who can assist with consultation and support when needed. 

As the school year progresses at CCS, I continue to be amazed by how well students, teachers, families have adapted to all the changes and at God’s continued care for us through everything.

Back to School Resources                                

August 31, 2020

As we plan ahead for the return to school in September, some children may be feeling nervous, anxious, and unsure. As parents, we may also have a mix of feelings. How do we balance our own worries and manage our kids' worries at the same time? 

5 tips for transitioning back to school:

  1. Get back into a routine - Create night time routines, morning routines, after school routines, and visual schedules/checklists. These will all help to establish structure, which is so important and may have been a bit lost this summer, because, let's be honest, it was needed! 

  2. Prepare the night before - Get kids involved in packing their own lunches, packing school bags, and picking out clothes the night before. Give a bit more time for kids to unwind before bed: put on some quiet music, read a book, use a prayer journal. 

  3. Validate emotions - Recognize that even uncomfortable emotions, such as worry, fear, and stress are normal emotions that may be heightened given the circumstances. Be understanding and help normalize their feelings. Look at things that will be the same about returning to school and what things will be different. Prepare your child, as best as you can, for what school may look like. 

  4. Utilize coping skills - When emotions are high, it can be difficult to think clearly, reason, or make sense of things. Each child has things they do that can help them stay calm or return to calm. Come up with some new skills together; including using transitional items - stuffed animals, scented items, stress balls. 

  5. Talk to your child about ways to follow new safety rules - Discuss how to safely engage with friends, how to wear masks, wash hands, etc. Make it fun; model the norm and they can follow your calm and fun approach to these new practices. Feeling prepared can help calm some of these fears.

Anxiety Canada - coping with back to school anxiety

HWDSB resources for mental wellness

Edvance Christian School Association (Facebook page) - (provides resources great for educators and parents) - recently posted reference to books by Julia Cook to address big feelings 

Centre for Disease Control - parent checklist for return to school

Child Mind Institute: Helping kids back to school routine

Parent Guide to a Mentally Healthy Return to School - Niagara District School Board

Free Hamilton Workshops for Back to School Anxiety - Your Space



June Membership Meeting Slideshow              

At the June Membership meeting, Mrs. Schinkel presented information about her role, this past year, as school counsellor. 

click HERE to view the presentation



Struggling to motivate you kids... (or yourself)?

April 30, 2020

Are there days where your kids just do NOT want to do their learning from home? Where you are trying to encourage and motivate them, without loosing your patience? I am sure we all have days right now, where we are just not motivated to do things, and this can lead to some pretty negative thoughts about life! People’s Church Hamilton had a fun video for kids that explored the idea of how to stay positive and focus on “the donut, rather than the donut hole” (what we have, rather than what is missing)! 

Tips for motivating kids: 

  • Be flexible
  • Be patient
  • Be creative and try to make it fun
  • Offer choices
  • Create checklists/calendars/schedules
  • Find inspirational quotes/bible verses (see below)
  • Negotiate and problem solve goals together
  • Use First (what needs to be done)/Then (what we want to do) (but avoid threats to get work done)
  • Validate their feelings
    • I understand that this is hard/sad/frustrating...because it’s different/it's going on so long/we can’t see the end...I got you/we are in this together...Let’s put our heads together and figure this out
    • Does this need to be done today?
    • Can we choose a different activity?
    • Come back to it later or do it tomorrow?
    • Teachers are putting a lot of work into this for us, let’s try
  • If all else fails...LEAVE IT FOR ANOTHER DAY!! And try it again tomorrow!

Tips for motivating yourself: 

  • The above tips and tricks can leave any parent feeling exhausted and can lead us to loose our cool every now and then. It’s ok to be a “good enough” parent! Can I Be a Good Parent and a Good Professional during Covid-19
  • Be kind to yourself when you mess up and ask forgiveness from your kids (they see how we can correct our mistakes and they can learn from us)
  • Remember SELF CARE - we can’t give from an empty cup...no time? Do one small thing for yourself each day!
  • Stop comparing yourself to what you see others doing on social media!
  • Lower your expectations for yourself and your kids (If you keep that bar low, you will have more successes in your day!)
  • This too shall pass!



Mental Health Resources - COVID 19 Response

April 16, 2020

Mental health and wellbeing is of such great importance and has an impact on all of us, especially at this time of uncertainty in our world.  Below is a list of resources for you to browse. In addition, Mrs. Schinkel, school counsellor, will be available with limited hours, typically on Wednesday's and Thursday's for email and phone consultation. 

Some thoughts to consider:

  • We are all in a place of unknowing.
  • We all respond to crisis differently.
  • Rest in the peace that Christ can give.
  • Take time for your own self care as a parent; as we cannot give from an empty cup!
  • Be gracious with yourself and others and give yourself permission to keep things simple. 
  • If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a break, including limiting the news/social media. 
  • Communicate with your spouse/partner/other support people of what you need.
  • Be real and honest with your struggles! It is ok not to have it all figured out or to feel happy all the time!
  • Keep low expectations of yourself and others.
  • Take it one day at a time and continue to give it all over to God!

Crisis Response Resources: 

         905-972-8338 or 1-844-972-8338 

  • KidsHelp.ca (text, phone, live chat, and resources available) 

  • 911
  • Go to McMaster Children's Hospital ER: CHYMES (Child and Youth Mental Health Emergency Services)

Local Virtual Counselling:

Mental Health Resources:

Zones of Regulation

January 2020

Some of you may have heard your kids talking about OCEAN BREATHING or SQUEEZIES!!
Over the last few months, I have been visiting the classrooms with the Occupational Therapist, Nicole Raftis, teaching students about emotion regulation, using concepts from the Zones of Regulation. This is part of a school wide initiative to increase social and emotional well-being by learning how to label, express, and manage emotions. There are 3-4 main concepts that are being taught.
  1. Emotions and our Brains: The hand model of the brain (Dr. Dan Siegal) is used to explain that when emotions get too big, our thinking/problem solving part of our brain can get pushed “offline”.

  • Video to explain hand model of the brain

  1. The Zones of Regulation: understanding the feelings in the four zones (blue, green, yellow, red)

  1. Yellow Zones Tools: discovering new ways to calm our feelings and bodies, so we can think and problem solve (getting our thinking brains back “online”). Understanding that all emotions are ok but not all actions are okay. Each class comes up with their own list of tools and practices them in the moment.

  2. Recognizing how thoughts, feelings, body sensations, and actions are connected and how this can be helpful in managing our responses to difficult situations. (Gr.6-8) 

Bullying Awareness and Prevention

November 17-23, 2019

This week is Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week, Ontario Ministry of Education
Here are some of the resources teachers are using to address this important topic:

Ontario Ministry of Education - Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week

Psychology Today - "Is it rude, is it mean, or is it bullying?"