Kindergarten and 1st
Students have concluded learning in the Empathy unit. They can begin to understand others’ perspectives and why others may have similar or different feelings. They can begin to understand that people’s actions may be accidental and not purposeful. Students can also listen to show they care and say or do something kind. We are now moving into the Emotional Management unit. Students are working on building their emotional vocabulary, learning that it is natural to have a range of feelings and recognizing that everyone feels angry sometimes, but it is never okay to act in mean or hurtful ways. Additionally, they are learning how to recognize clues in their own body when they are having a feeling, like noticing when their tummy gets tight or face gets hot. When this happens they need to calm down by using their strategies: Stop, Name your feeling, Calm down (belly breathe, count, or use positive self talk). You can help your child manage their emotions by using these strategies when you notice them getting upset.
We have been rotating through 2nd grade on our specials schedule and finished in Miss Travis’ class in November and began in Miss Spungen’s class. Students have been working on calming down before trying to solve a problem using the Calm Down Steps (stop, name your feeling, calm down-belly breathe, count, self-talk), then applying the Problem-Solving Steps (S-Say the problem, T-Think of solutions, E-Explore consequences, P-Pick the best solution). Lastly, we have been discussing making and keeping friends by using fair ways to play (sharing, trading, taking turns) and inviting others to play. You can help your child manage conflict by using the problem solving strategies or recommending a fair way to play.
Students have been identifying and understanding their own and others’ feelings by focusing on their attention on physical, verbal and situational clues. They also have been recognizing that they can have conflicting feelings about a situation and understanding feelings can change. Students are also considering situations from different perspectives and respecting different preferences. You can help your child by assisting them to see situations from a different point of view.
4th graders have been identifying multiple feelings in a given scenario and can give possible reasons for multiple feelings. They also can understand different perspectives about the same situation and recognize prosocial responses to work through situations where there could be conflict. We have also started working on components of successful conversations and how to give and receive a compliment. You can help your child build on these skills by having them introduce themselves to guests and work on making conversation with someone you don’t know well.
5th grade has been able to identify similarities and differences between two people and find ways to connect. They can distinguish between respectful and disrespectful ways to disagree and communicate their own perspectives while disagreeing respectfully. Lastly they can demonstrate knowledge of how to respond with compassion and empathy. You can support your child by having them redo situations if they didn’t respond in a respectful manner and practice showing respect and compassion in their interactions.
We have also had the opportunity to work with Miss Tina Payne for the first part of the year from La Plata Youth Services in her role of Restorative Practices Facilitator. Her caseload has continued to grow across the district, so LPYS has just hired a new facilitator. Miss Tina will be leaving us and Miss Keely will be joining us at Needham on Mondays. She will be helping us with restorative conversations with peer conflicts and other restorative practices within our school.
Please reach out with any questions!
Sallie Kautter, School Counselor
Sarah Sablosky, SEL Interventionist