School Counselling at CCS
December 2020 - Mental Health over 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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Parent Guide to a Mentally Healthy Return to School - Niagara District School Board
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:
- COAST (Crisis Outreach Support Team) Hamilton
905-972-8338 or 1-844-972-8338
- KidsHelp.ca (text, phone, live chat, and resources available)
- Go to McMaster Children's Hospital ER: CHYMES (Child and Youth Mental Health Emergency Services)
Local Virtual Counselling:
- Shalem Mental Health (Faith Based)
- Bayridge Counselling Centres (request Faith Based)
- Bounce Back (for adults and youth aged 15+)
Mental Health Resources:
- School Mental Health Ontario
- Focus on the Family
- Child Mind Institute: Helping your child cope with frightening news
- Child Mind Institute: Going back to school after tragedy
- School Counsellor.org - Tips for self care
- School Counsellor.org - Tips for Parents
Zones of Regulation
|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.
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
The Zones of Regulation: understanding the feelings in the four zones (blue, green, yellow, red)
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.
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: