Counselor's Corner - February

Hello American River Families,

As we inch closer to the one year anniversary of being in distance learning, it seems fitting to revisit the topic of the social emotional needs of our students. Now more than ever, we need to be focusing on Social Emotional Learning (SEL) to help cultivate healthy relationships and coping strategies. The ability to develop and demonstrate empathy, compassion, and resiliency provides children with important lifelong social and emotional skills. These skills will not only serve them throughout their lives, but help them cope with the heightened stress, anxiety, and fear we are all facing right now.

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) is an organization that defines SEL through five core competencies. These competencies help build children's capacity to deal with life's challenges in an effective and productive manner. CASEL's framework emphasizes the importance of all five competencies included in four key settings: classrooms, schools, families, and communities.

Here is a brief overview of the five competencies presented by CASEL:
1. Self-awareness: The ability to understand your own thoughts and emotions, including how they influence your behavior.  This also includes recognizing personal strength and weaknesses.
2. Self-management: Learning how to manage emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in a variety of situations.  Impulse control, stress management, and goal setting are part of this competency.  
3. Social awareness: Being able to understand the perspectives of others by showing empathy and compassion, as well as respect and appreciation for diversity.  
4. Relationship skills: This competency requires the ability to establish and maintain healthy and supportive relationships with others including collaboration, communication, conflict resolution, and listening skills.  
5. Responsible decision-making: The final competency has to do with recognizing consequences of various personal choices, decisions, and interactions for the most beneficial outcome.  

With students at home the majority of the time right now, families have an opportunity to focus on developing these five competencies with their children. Attached is a four week calendar of activities which includes a daily discussion topic and an independent activity that your child can do on their own or with the help of an adult or older sibling. Each day of the week focuses on one of the five competencies mentioned above. Please feel free to pick and choose discussion topics and activities that sound good to you, or print it out and put it on the fridge for the whole family. Daily discussions like these let your children know it's okay to experience strong feelings and that you are there to support them.

If you'd like more detailed information on the five competencies and where they are promoted, please visit the CASEL website here.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me via ParentSquare or at with any questions or concerns.

Take care and stay healthy,
Ms. Stacey

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