• paws Catherine Lallas, M.S.
    Center Elementary School Counselor
    Lallasc@chelmsford.k12.ma.us
    (978) 251-5155

Welcome to Elementary School Counseling!

  • GUIDANCE LESSONS SPRING UPDATE!

    At Center School our K-2 students have continued learning social skills through a curriculum called Social Thinking. Kindergarten classes have been learning about “following the group plan” and how to work together cooperatively as well as what it looks like to have “our bodies and brains in the group”. In Guidance lessons we have read and discussed the books on these topics as part of the “Incredible Flexible You” series.  Below is an illustration of a few of the the Incredible Flexible Books mentioned above!

    Social thinking book series

     

    In grades 1 the students are continuing to learn how to use their social smarts to learn about “personal space” and increase students’ awareness of how we move our bodies to share space and work around others respectfully in a range of situations. We read and discussed the book, “Personal Space Camp” by Julia Cook (below) and role played some of the personal space expectations from the book. 

     

    Personal space Camp book

     

    Our grade 2 students have been learning about social skills on how and when to speak up without interrupting others or blurting out in class. We read and discussed the book, “My Mouth is a Volcano”, by Julia Cook. We role played the expected behaviors illustrated at “space camp” in the book below.

     

    My Mouth is a Volcano book

     

    In grade 3 and 4 classrooms, students have been learning about differences between tattling and reporting. We have read and discussed the book, “A bad case of Tattle Tongue”, by Julia Cook (below).   In each class we played games to determine if a range of situations would be considered reporting or tattling. This activity sparked many lively discussions as we looked at the nuances that might be considered in these situations!

    Tattle Tongue book

     

    Thank you for supporting your child’s social and emotional health!

    Best wishes,

    Catherine Lallas, Center School Counselor

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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  • hhhh We are excited to share resources, information, and updates with you.  As school counselors, it is our goal to improve the school climate and enhance the education of all students. Research shows that a positive social and emotional development program in schools enhance overall academic achievement and resiliency.
     
    Through groups, individual sessions, and classroom guidance, we strive to encourage children to reach their full potential academically, socially, emotionally, and behaviorally.  Please visit our site often for information pertaining to our comprehensive school counseling program.
     
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  •  Tips for Sailing Through the MCAS Testing

    ·         Get a good night’s sleep, so you feel well rested on the days of testing (better yet, for two nights before).  Stay away from colas and desserts like “Death by Chocolate” to avoid caffeine which will make it hard to fall asleep.

    ·         Plan ahead for a calm morning on the days of testing (and honestly, this helps all year long!).  The night before:  lay out clothes, pack lunches and snacks (don’t forget water), pack your backpack with food, homework/books/instruments/sport gear so you are not running around trying to find your belongings at the last minute.

    ·         Feed your brain in the morning!  For optimal performance, your brain would like some protein to get it up and running.  Some breakfast ideas:  any kind of eggs, Canadian bacon, turkey sausages, yogurt smoothies, ham and melted cheese on an English muffin, cottage cheese and fresh berries or (even if you’re picky) a tall glass of chocolate or vanilla soy milk.

    ·         Leave for school a few minutes earlier than usual so you are not rushing or worrying about being late.  If you can and the weather is cooperative, walk to school.  Your brain will love the fresh air, and will stay alert longer after you’ve arrived at school.

    ·         During the testing, focus on staying calm, relaxed and positive!  No negative self-talk!  Keep an optimistic and cheerful attitude.  Say things to yourself like:  “I know this – I’ve practiced this and I know how to do it – I am a good student – I can do my best – I’m learning more each day – My mind is clear and alert – I can do this.”  If you begin to feel tense, use a slow, deep breathing exercise to calm yourself.

    ·         Do not spend too much time on any one question.  Skip the harder ones and go back to them later as your confidence builds.  Many students do well by starting with the easiest questions first and then working their way on to the more difficult ones as their confidence level increases.

    ·         Go back and proofread.  After finishing the test, go back and look over your answers.  Does the answer make sense?  Have you answered all the parts of the questions? Are the answers in the right place?

    ·         Use as much time as you need to finish the test.  Do not allow those who finish early bother you.  They often are not the ones who do best.

    ·         When you are finished reward yourself for a job well done! 

    Relaxation Exercises

    ·         The Big Sponge:  Imagine that you are a sponge.  To squeeze out all the stress and tension, tighten all your muscles (without hurting yourself) and silently count to five.  Then relax all your muscles for a count of five.  Repeat this 4-5 times. As you tense and relax your muscles you will ring out more stress.

    ·         Lemon Squeezing:  Imagine that you are making lemonade by squeezing out fresh lemons.  You can use a couple of stress balls or imaginary lemons and tightly squeeze both fists.  Squeeze to a count of three or so and then stretch and relax your hands for five seconds.  As you squeeze your fists tightly again, imagine that the lemon juice is dripping out and taking all your tension with it.  Repeat several times.

    ·         The Big Balloon:  Imagine that your stomach is a balloon.  Breathe in slowly through your nose and watch your stomach (balloon) expand.  Hold that breath for the count of three, then breath out slowly through your mouth.  Do this several times and watch your tension blow away.

    ·         One Minute Vacation:  Give your self a minute or two to daydream a bit.  Imagine a quiet place you like to be that is relaxing and enjoyable.  Some examples might be playing at the beach, walking in the woods, relaxing in a hammock.  Pretend you are there and imagine what it looks like, smells like, feels like and sounds like.  Enjoy a few moments there before returning to the classroom.

    ·         Sit Tight:  Sit at your desk and put your feet flat on the floor.  With your hands, grab underneath your chair on the sides.  Push down with your feet and pull up on your chair at the same time for a slow count of five seconds.  Then relax for 5-10 seconds.  Repeat three or four times.

    ·         Yoga Breathing:  stand with your feet slightly apart.  Let your arms hang loosely at your sides.  As you inhale, raise your arms slowly out to the sides, palms up and over your head.  Exhaling, clasp you fingers and turn your palms up toward the ceiling.  Now inhale slowly again, stretching up and tilting your head slightly back.  As you exhale, drop you head down to your chest and let your arm slowly return to your sides.  Repeat several times.

    ·         Power Breathing:  Take a deep breath in through your nose.  Hold it for 3 seconds and imagine pushing that breath into the extremities of your body, such as to your hand, feet and head.  Slowly breathe out through your mouth.  Repeat a few times, smoothing out the inhalation and the exhalation so there is seamless inflow and outflow of air.  As you breath in feel calm energy entering your body and as you breath out feel the tension flowing out of your body.

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Elementary School Counseling Program

  • What is an elementary school counselor?
    • A certified, specially trained professional educator who has a minimum of a Masters Degree in School Counseling or the equivalent
    • A special friend when a child needs someone to listen
    • An advocate for students 
    • A caring person who provides help and guidance to teachers, parents, students, and administrators
    • Someone who counsels with students both individually and in groups
    • A teacher of social-emotional learning curriculum
     
    What does an elementary school counselor do?
    • Offers student body a wide range of school counseling services that are developmentally appropriate for each grade level, and are generally preventative in nature 
    • Conducts a comprehensive and developmentally appropriate guidance and counseling program (based on the American School Counseling Associations National Model)
    • Collaborates with staff to support students
    • Utilizes referral services and helps families and students to access community resources
    • Conducts parent and teacher conferences
    • Provides guidance lessons to each class, works with identified groups of children with specific needs 
    • Provides brief individual counseling to:
      • help students develop effective communication skills
      • help students develop positive interpersonal relationship skills
      • help students set positive goals, exercise responsibility and improve academic success
      • help provide support during a crisis

    A child may see the counselor for:
    • Any social-emotional problems that they may be experiencing that are impacting the student’s academic performance and functioning at school
    • Ongoing social difficulties/conflicts
    • Divorce or changing family issues
    • A loss of a family member or close friend
    • Decision-making and problem-solving skills
    • Improvement and aid in the development of positive self-esteem
    • Family concerns or fears
    • Developing and increasing social, self-regulation and organizational skills as it relates to functioning at school
    • Review and discussion of academic needs and concerns
    • Individual counseling at school is short-term in nature and should a student need long term,  on-going therapy, a referral can be made to an outside mental health provider. Individual counseling referrals for students can be made through the request of a student, parent or teacher.


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