Recognizing Emotions, Self-Care, and Mental Health
“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and
- Fred Rogers
This week we conclude Mental Health Awareness Month by using our spirit/wellness week to talk about self-care. This school year, as well as the previous, there has been an emphasis on the importance of teaching both children and adults how to put their mental health and safety at the forefront of everyday life. Here at ISDenver, we continue to stress this to students, faculty, and staff.
While school counseling has gotten more complex over the last two years, we are fortunate that the resources have expanded with it. We would like to take this time to update families on what your counseling team has been doing with your students this year and our plans to continue to grow our social emotional counseling next year!
This year, our youngest students focused on decision making and recognizing their emotions. We used two research backed programs called Kelso’s Choice and Second Step. Both programs were shared with our staff so that they could incorporate the lessons into their everyday interactions with students. In our lower and upper primaries both Second Step and Common Sense were used to help students understand perspective taking and learn about navigating the online world. For our Middle School we continue to teach our curriculum through our unique advisory program where we focus on diversity and inclusion, empathy, decision making, and the profile traits of an IB learner.
Recently we launched a new program that we are very excited about, called Aperture. This validated tool lets us look at each student individually to assess their social emotional skills. By measuring eight traits, taken from CASEL standards, we can tailor lessons to fit the needs of either the student, the class, or the grade level. The best part about this program is it links up with Second Step, a program we are extremely familiar with from using it this school year. We are excited to see the data that this program shares with us so we can continue to create a stronger, custom SEL program for ISDenver.
Director of Counseling Annie Barocas and Director of Database Services Victoria Sardelli describes their trip to Selma, Alabama with 11 Middle School students, to educate and bring awareness to the culture that bore the Civil Rights movement. Students acknowledged the past and independently concluded that the determination and resolution of Civil Rights activists in Alabama was more powerful than those forces acting against them.
This week we conclude Mental Health Awareness Month by using our spirit/wellness week to talk about self-care, with an emphasis on the importance of teaching both children and adults how to put their mental health and safety at the forefront of everyday life. Here at ISDenver, we continue to stress this to students, faculty, and staff.
It is quite clear from conversation both at our school and in the larger community of educators that television, social media, and cell phones are a growing concern. Children are being bombarded by ideas, topics, and messages that negatively influence their decision making; as parents, we may not even be aware that this is going on. Read on for strategies and tips on navigating this ever changing environment.