Counselor's Corner

Hi!  I am Jill Schwerer Whitehouse Primary School’s Counselor.

You might wonder~~ what exactly is a school counselor?

A school counselor is a certified professional educator who helps children, teachers, parents, and administrators.  We have studied child development and the working out of problems.  We have learned ways to help people get along with others at home and away.  Counselors have learned ways to help children individually and in small groups.  Counselors help children develop positive habits and attitudes.  Counselors help children manage feelings, which get in the way of their work.  Counselors help children develop confidence to do their best.  Counselors help children work toward understanding of rules.  We help people with many types of problems.

As the school counselor, I am available to work with you and your child in providing every chance for your child to take full advantage of his or her educational opportunities.  I can meet individually with your child or sometimes in a small group situation or I might even be in the classroom at some point and time during the year.  I welcome every opportunity to talk with children or parents.  We want to have a cooperative effort in assisting a child’s development physically, socially/emotionally and academically.  If you ever have questions or concerns for me please call the Whitehouse Office at 419-877-0543 and ask for Mrs. Schwerer.

The Anthony Wayne Guidance Counselors hosted a Bullying Forum On February 6, 2013.

The program defined bullying, explored forms of bullying, and discussed how to deal with bullying behaviors.

Click HERE is access helpful information that was presented at the program about bullying.

Now that the Soul Shoppe assembly is over- we at Whitehouse Primary will be continuing to focus in on our Character Building and on Being an Ally. As you know, our program is one that is focused on building character and creating safe schools. This also will be the second year for our Peacemaker Program. The Peacemaker Program is a year-round program for our school. It  is in place to help us to continue to be safe, have fun and be bully-free.  The students are trained to build student leadership and safety on the playground.  We have two painted peace paths on our playground for the students to use as tools to practice peacemaking skills. 

I would like to review what we feel the word Bullying entails. Sometimes people label everything as a “Bully” but sometimes it is just a child having normal conflicts.

What to look for if you hear the word Bullying.
It can be described as a situation in which one or more students single out a child and engage in behaviors intended to harm that child. This is done repeatedly over time.  A child who bullies can dominate the victim, because they possess or they perceive they have more power.  They may be physically stronger, or more intelligent, have a larger circle of friends, or possess a higher social standing.

What Bullying is not!
Children having normal childhood conflicts.  Examples of this would be getting called a bad word, having something mean said about you or to you, confrontations and arguments, or having a fight with a friend. These types of behaviors can happen between friends, siblings, playmates, teammates, and even best friends. 

At Whitehouse Primary we do not accept bullying.  We expect Respect to be shown to all.  We talk and work on developing or continuing good behavior by:  school rules, principal and teacher's discussions, counselor discussions and classroom visits, our “Eagles”- getting caught and making good choices program, daily announcements, posters, signs, and cards - visually hung and given to the children to remind them about their good choices, our peacemaker path, using the same language in the whole building while using these skills, reinforcing these skills through our playground monitors, our bus drivers, our cafeteria helpers, our crossing guards, assemblies, and parent information nights. We will always be willing to work out any situation that might come up.  We are team players at Whitehouse Primary! If you would ever have any problems please let us know. 
   
Here are a few resources available for students and parents to help in thinking about Bully prevention.

INTERACTIVE STUDENT SITES
Out on a Limb: A guide to Getting Along
www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/conflict/index.html 
This page within the University of Illinois Extension website,
 allows children to follow an interactive story that focuses on 
conflict resolution.

Kids Against Bullying
 www.pacerkidsagainstbullying.org 
Pacer Center’s National Center for Bullying Prevention – this is an
interactive, creative and relevant bullying prevention site created
for and by kids to raise awareness.

It’s Your Choice
 library.thinkquest.org/J001675F/ This is a link to a site kids can interact with regarding character and
making good choices.

PARENT SITES

www.stopbullyingnow.com/yvp.htm
www.cfchildren.org/advocacy/bullying-prevention.aspx

How to raise a child who is strong and who is less likely to be hurt if he or she is bullied?
*Advice for Parents and Guardians*

The below information is from Stan Davis and Dr. Charisse Nixons research of over 13,000 youth, in Youth Voice Project.  They found these ideas to be beneficial in helping children cope and deal with situations that might be upsetting to them as they develop into adulthood. Please take the time to read this. I feel there are some great ideas and thoughts in their suggestions.   

  • Spending family time together. Decades of research shows that there are many ways to build inner strength. First, young people who spend time with their parent(s) or guardian(s) talking, enjoying shared time, and doing activities they are interested in together are more resilient. They are more likely to weather the storms and stresses of childhood and adolescence than youth who do not spend time in these activities with their families. Even having dinner with you children on a regular basis and talking during the meal has been shown to make a positive difference in their lives.
  • Encouraging positive relationships with adults outside the immediate family. Youth who have positive and stable connections with teachers, coaches, youth group leaders, extended family members, and other adults are likely to be more resilient. 
  • Encouraging active participation in hobbies and interests. The concentration, learning, and joy that comes from active involvement in playing music, playing sports, doing art, and other activities of young peoples' choosing can counteract the negative effects of peer behavior.
  • Encouraging service to others and helping youth see that they have made a positive difference by helping others. When young people know that their actions have helped others, they acquire authentic self esteem which buffers them against others' mean or excluding behavior.
  • Teaching young people to understand that some people they meet in life may say or do mean things to others. Remind the youth that mean behavior is a choice made by that person, not something that they did to cause the others' mean behavior or that there was anything wrong with them. It is also good to let them know that sometimes people who do mean things are just having a hard day.
  • Helping your child develop problem-solving skills. Three key problem solving skills that can be practiced in day-to-day life at home are: 1. Self-calming strategies using breathing, exercise, and other techniques; 2. Thinking about three or more possible next steps to solve any problem before choosing what to do. In considering different options, young people can also think about what might happen next if they use each step. When youth have more than one problem-solving option, they can fall back on a second option if the first doesn't work. 3. Asking for help. Most of the mistreated youth in our study did not ask adults for help. Those who asked for and got help from adults reported that they were less hurt by the mean behavior.
  • Helping your child build friendships and other peer connections outside school through activities and groups. If youth have several groups of friends and others with shared interests, they are less vulnerable to mistreatment in one location.

If you would like to read more on this research of 13,000+ youth-here is the website.  www.stopbullyingnow.com/yvp.htm

The First Days of School

**Get up early.
This way you can have a relaxed breakfast.  Get organized so everyone doesn’t  feel frazzled.   Leave enough time to deal with upsets (if need be)-- and still get  to school on time.

**Don’t talk about how much you will miss your child. 
Please don’t let your own worries get in the way.  Walk you child into school or to  the school bus and then talk to other parents if you need support.

**Focus on fun and a positive attitude.   
Meet the teacher together. Talk about the cool playground, or the friends they  can play with, or art class, gym, the fish tank or reading corner-- anything that  you know they enjoy. 

**If your child gets upset, accept the feeling and ask them for suggestions.
You might say, “I know that you are upset.  I bet other kids are too.  Let’s think  about what will help you feel better.”  Suggest starting an activity.  Ask the  teacher for help.  Let your child know that the teacher will take great care of  them.

Take your cue from the teacher and from your child, but when it is time to go, go.   A quick exit may be more helpful to your child than a drawn-out goodbye.  You  can often call school later to check in on how a young child is doing.  And you’ll  probably find out that they are doing fine.

Kindergarten
Attitudes at Kindergarten can vary widely.
This is where they start in a new and bigger school.  They may have concerns  about leaving home plus possibly having more kids in the class and playground,  having more work and less play time, and meeting new friends.  Things usually  feel more comfortable once they understand the routine and get used to it.

First and Second Grades
The transition here is usually a little better.  They usually know the school and its  routines.  They could have some separation problems, like missing mom or  missing their friends that they had in last year’s class.  They also might feel sad  and worried about having a new teacher because they are afraid they might not  like them.  They also might have trouble letting go of summer and starting a more  structured routine. 

Third and Fourth Grades
At this age most of the kids know their way around and are generally excited to  return.  They do worry about a new teacher, studying and doing homework again  after summer.  They also may feel a bit lost academically, as they may think they  don’t remember anything from last spring.  Remind them that the year starts with  review of last year.

*** information from pbs.org/parents

Here at Whitehouse Primary, we believe that we need to always work at:

            “Treating others the way that we would want to be Treated''

Hi~ this is Jill Schwerer again. As the counselor at Whitehouse Primary, I am always trying to contemplate ways for the children to practice and utilize the skills that we have been addressing in our school. With our Powerhouse Program we have been working on Conflict Management Skills, Character Development Skills, and being an Ally Skills. We want the children to practice and learn to make great choices. It is a known fact that before something becomes a habit someone has to repeat the concept many times. We would like the children to continue practicing these skills where ever they might go. 

We have been practicing these skills in the classroom, the playground, the cafeteria, the halls, and every where we go in the building. We also have our bus drivers and crossing guards keeping an eye out for good choices being made from our children. We are asking for your help in this program for our children too. We'd love for you to participate with us to try to increase and encourage these skills that we all want them to use.

Some of the skills are:

  • Listening to each other
  • Using kind voices and words
  • Using the “I Message”
    It should sound something like this~~
    I feel________
    When I _______
    I need________
    Will you ________
  • Using the “Cleanup message”
    It should sound something like this~~
    I know that I ________
    I apologize.
    What can I do to make it right?
    Next time I will ________
    Will you forgive me? 
  • Thinking and caring about each others feelings.
  • Being respectful
  • Being an Ally

 What Allies Say:

  • "We don't do that at our school, please stop”
  • ”Do you need a friend?”
  • ”How can we help you?”

What Allies Do:

  • Stand up for each other
  • Include someone
  • Help

Using the PowerHouse Good Choice Plan

  • Stop and Breathe
  • Think~~ what are my choices???
       examples ~~calm down--disengage--stop   
         use the “I message”
         be an Ally
         use the Peace Path      
         talk things out  
         apologize  
         find something else to do
         ignore
         tell an adult

     ~Choose the best choice & then . . .
     ~Act on that choice!

All the teachers and staff at Whitehouse are participating in the development of these areas by “Catching” a child in the act of using these activities.  Some examples of good activities are:  using the Good Choice Plan, being helpful to someone, using respectful-caring words or actions, using the I message, acting responsible and trustworthy, if they are an ally, and etc.

So, if you would like to help us out with the children~ in making good choices a habit ~~ when you see your child or any child making these good choices throughout the day~~ give them a high five, or a word of encouragement to continue their development of making good choices!! You also might want to ask them to explain to you some of the actual skills that we have been practicing.(I message, clean-up, the good choice plan—what their good choice plan might have in it?)

Thanks for your time and support of all that we do at Whitehouse Primary!  You are the Best! 

Have a Great Day!
Mrs. Jill Schwerer
Whitehouse School Counselor :)

 

 

Before School Starts......

A little advance preparation hopefully can make the first week go a lot smoother.   

** Practice going to school. 
Make a dry run.  This way your child will be somewhat familiar with the rout and  the routine of coming to school.  Point out familiar sights and places.  Let them play on the playground. 

**Describe what will happen on the first day
Talk about the basic sequence of the day, this will help your child visualize what  they can expect.  Remember if your child is just starting school or new to the  school this is going to be hard for them to imagine.  Maybe play a “starting school  game.”  Choose a few props or toys to represent school and them.  Let them play  act school with their props.  You can join in the play too. 

**Ask your child engaging questions. 
Specific questions will help your child imagine and explore what school will be  like.  It also will help you talk about the hard stuff as well as the fun stuff.  Maybe  ask questions like,

~What do you think the hardest part of school is going to be?
~Is there anything that worries you about starting school?
~What are you really looking forward to? 

**Start going to bed earlier.  
Start rolling bedtime back to a school schedule.  Begin slowly, start with waking  them up 15 minutes earlier and then going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night  until they are back on track.

**Try to meet kids in the class or school.
If you are new to the area, find out if anyone lives by you that goes to the same  school.  Check in at the school to see if there are any tours or activities that the  child could participate in.  If the child already has friends at school, try to get  some play dates with kids your child may not have seen over the summer.

**Learn about the drop-off and pick-up policy. 
Find out about the policy for parents walking children into the classroom.  If you  think that your child will need extra time to adjust, talk to the teacher, principal, or  counselor before school starts, if you can.

**Give children control over what they can control.
If you offer your child simple choices it may help calm nerves and get kids  excited.  For instance, if they get to pick out a new backpack or lunchbox, let  them choose the color or style.  If you are going to shop for school supplies, let  your child find the items and check them off your list.  Maybe they could even  pick out their outfit for the first day.

**Plan ahead how you will say goodbye.
Think about what your child needs in a goodbye.  What will be helpful -- a quick  goodbye, or a five minute cuddle time with you.

**Read books about starting school. 
Books can get kids talking and help in making them feel more comfortable.   Some good books are-- The Berenstain Bears Go to School by Stan and Jan  Berenstain, Annabelle Swift, Kindergartner by Amy Schwartz, First Day Jitters by  Julie Dannenberg, I Am Absolutely Too Small for School by Lauren Child, and  Get Ready for Second Grade, Amber Brown by Paula Danzinger.

 

*** information from pbs.org/parents