School Counseling

Counseling Connection... From Home!

So... you're at home and wondering, "what am I to do with all this time at home and no school counseling lessons?" Well shucks, I was thinking the same thing! But have no fear, I have you covered, (parents, too!). Over the next few months, this will be the place I post daily reflection prompts, activities and games to play at home, and other counseling tid-bit. Let's jump into it and make connections from home! Make sure to scroll down to see mindfulness bedtime stories, games to play at home, and more. 

 

Want to check-in with Mr. Ward? Email anytime to set up a Zoom call. It is especially important right now that we rely on our community. Know that I am here for any problem, big or small, and am more than happy to talk. Just like it would be at school.

Reflections: 

I call these reflections from within(side). They are intended to give you an excuse each day to quiet your mind and body and be reflect on our current situation with family and friends. When something uneasy happens in our lives, we feel the need to gain control, in any place, and any way. We rush to understand everything and sometimes forget to find the beauty in our imperfect lives. Joy comes to us in ordinary moments. Use these reflections to take note of these ordinary moments, remember this monumental time, and make in-home learning joyful!

I have started to make my reflections into video format! Follow the links below to connect via video, and share with other families and friendsMake a video of your own, draw a picture, take a picture, sing a song, do a dance, connect with myself and with others on the Padlet as well!

Final Reflection! (6/22): Happy summer! Here is one last reflection for you all. How will you make the most of your summer? Remember, YOU are strong, smart, and capable enough to make this summer meaningful. I can't wait to see you all in the fall!

Today's Reflection (6/8): WOW! The last week of school! How would you like to finish the school year? What does persevering to the very end show about your character? 

(6/5): What keeps you motivated? On this Friday, take some times to make goals and plans as to how you will stay motivated for the last week of school. Stick with it! Have a blast at field day, Moving Up Mass, and meeting with your new teacher! Upward and Onward!

(6/4): I was recently fortunate enough to witness my brother and his true love get married, (and made a fun vlog for them!). Our world needs outward signs of love as strong as this right now. Love sometimes looks as romantic as it does in a wedding, but not always. Where do you see love in your life, and how can you remind yourself of this love each day?

(6/1): How do you let yourself heal? Remember, healing takes time. Think about this today, or the next time you get hurt. You deserve the space and time. 

Day 46: (5/28): "There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind." C.S. Lewis. Believe it or not, this is true even in the hard times of life. How can you embrace this quote in the last few weeks of school? Video up for this one. 

Day 45: (5/27): "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Reflect on this quote from Albert Einstein today. I will ask you again in about three weeks, to see how we grow. Whatever comes up during your reflection, radically accept it into your heart. You are exactly where you are suppose to be!

Day 44: (5/26): Treat yourself to some humor today! We can get weighted down pretty significantly by the hardships of quarantine, so much so that we forget to find humor in life! What makes you smile? Can you get someone to laugh today?

Day 43 (5/22): “Get action. Do things; be sane; don’t fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action.” What does this quote from Teddy Roosevelt mean to you today? How can we "get action" in the days of quarantine? You can see Mr. Ward's video reflection on this by clicking the link above. 

Day 42 (5/21): Where do you find joy on a rainy day? Dig deep! The sun may be hiding, but that is no excuse to waste another day and another opportunity to seek goodness & happiness. Go, seek, and find joy today!​

Day 41 (5/20): Worthiness Wednesday! What is one activity that makes you feel the most like yourself? For some, it might be a creative activity. For others, it might be something physical or spiritual. Honor yourself by doing this activity today. CLUE: You might know if you've chosen the right activity if you feel at peace, happy, and confident when you are doing it!

Day 40 (5/19): Truthful Tuesday! We have spent a lot, (A LOT) of time in our homes, with our families. But let's not forget who loves us, who cares for us, and who supports us. Be truthful today and express to someone in your household why you are grateful for them.

Day 39 (5/18): Happy Monday! Let's make the most of this beautiful day. Sometimes, making the most of a day means slowing down to soak in the beauty. What is one way that you will slow down and soak in beauty today? One time when you will turn off screens and seek goodness in the world. 

Day 38 (5/15): Another week in the books! Reflect back: is there a fear, worry, or obstacle that you overcame just in this last week? Take a moment to give thanks for your accomplishment, and recognize your strength! 

Day 37 (5/14): Great work yesterday! How did it feel to rest? Did you notice anything different from the normal way you rest your mind and your body?

Day 36 (5/13): Today is Mental Health and Movement Day! What does it feel like to try something? What does it feel like before you try it? How about after you try it?

Day 35 (5/12): Truthful Tuesday time! How have you been sleeping lately? Has a change in sleeping patterns effected your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in any way? Think about your sleep hygiene since the quarantine began. Does it need to be tweaked? We are all experiencing very similar challenges!

Day 34 (5/11): What an unbelievably beautiful weekend we just had. How does the sun make you feel? What does the sun make you think of? How does the warmth effect your mind, body, and spirit? ​

Day 33 (5/8): Gratitude Friday! Let's keep it simple: Looking back on your entire week, what are you grateful for? What new challenges have you over come? Take a second to give thanks, either in the quiet of your own head, or out loud to a loved one, that you have completed another week of online classes! You are amazing!

Day 32 (5/7): Thoughtful Thursday! Figuring out ways to be social can be completely overwhelming right now. What is one, small thoughtful way you can be social today? Think simple, don't become overwhelmed by trying to do something huge!

Day 31 (5/6): We are seeking goodness today! What does it mean to you to seek goodness in the world, especially during quarantine? New video up for this one!

Day 30 (5/4): In the middle of a great challenge, it is easy to get lost in negativity. If we slip up once, it is easy to get down on ourselves and focus on our faults. Today, I want you to pay special attention the times when you are hard on yourself. What kind of messages have you been telling yourself in times of stress during quarantine? New Video for today up!

Day 29 (5/1): Sometimes when online learning gets us frustrated, we need to let go. Our gut reaction might be telling us to get upset and dig in deeper until we solve the problem, but in reality, what your mind needs is to let go. How do you take breaks from online learning? Video up for this one!

Day 28 (4/29): Worthiness Wednesday! Have you been giving yourself breaks throughout each day? Take at least on break today to journal, color, read, listen to music, or anything that will let you feel  calm. While you are calming, tell yourself that you are worthy. Embrace your gifts today and remind yourself of the light that you bring to the world! 

Day 27 (4/28): "Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful." What does this quote mean to you today? What does it mean to you over the span of quarantine? 

Day 26 (4/27): Make the Most Monday! Alright, who has noticed that nothing is the same as it was 1 month ago? Everyone? Ok, ok. Well, we can still make the most of our time. Today, reflect on some goals you would like to have for yourself for the remainder of the school year. Physical, spiritual, academic goals? Go for it, and don't be afraid!

Day 25: BONUS weekend video reflection up on YouTube --> Go check it out!

Day 24 (4/24): Headed into the weekend with another Compassion Friday. Where did you struggle this week? Once you have this struggle in mind, say to yourself: "May I be filled with loving kindness. May I be happy. May I accept myself just as I am. May I feel peaceful and safe." What would someone who loves you say to you right now? Let yourself absorb this self-compassion. How long can you sit in reflection today? Start with 1 minute and challenge yourself to go longer.

Day 23 (4/23): Thoughtful Thursday! What are the love languages of your family members? Watch my video or head to Flipgrid (link below) to learn more! 

Day 22 (4/22): Another awesome edition of Worthiness Wednesday! How do you show someone in your family that they are worthy of respect and love? Is there anything creative that you can do for this person today, that you haven't done in the past? 

Day 21 (4/21): What parts of my routine should I change? What parts are working and I should keep? Check our the vlog on YouTube for more depth! 

Day 20 (4/20): Spring break felt like a nice reset button for me. How was it for you? I'm ready to get back online and see the goodness in the world. Simple reflection for Make the Most Monday: How are you going to make the most of this day? Try something new! 

Day 19 (4/10): Good Friday. Today, we remember Jesus' death on the cross, a showcase of the greatest love. How, in your life, do you see glimpses of this greatest love? 

Day 18 (4/9): Holy Thursday, a day when Jesus washed his disciples' feet and asked them to "Love one another as I have loved you." Happiness not found when we fill ourselves up; is found when we give of ourselves to others. Reflect on this with a loved one today.  

Day 17 (4/8): Worthiness Wednesday! Have you been struggling with something during the quarantine that you haven't confessed to anyone? Remember that in you worth, you are not alone. Reflect on this today, and see if you can turn to someone for help. 

Day 16 (4/7): Truthful Tuesday! Who are you turning to for inspiration these days? Truthfully, are they feeding your peace and happiness?

Day 15 (4/6): Make the Most Monday! What is the most difficult part of your day? How can you change your mindset to make it the most rewarding?

Day 14 (4/3): Compassion Friday! Where is there shared imperfection in your life today? Remembering this helps us feel less isolated, be more self compassionate!

Day 13 (4/2): Thoughtful Thursday! We are all suffering a bit from this Coronavirus situation. We are tempted to keep up with the speed of life before this pandemic hit. Have we given enough thought to the slowing down of life, and what that can grant us? What is the opportunity for love in this situation?

Day 12 (4/1): Worthiness Wednesday! Here's a fact for you: You are worthy of love. That is a fact that you do not have to buy, win over, or get lucky to find. What does it mean to you to be worthy of love? How will you remind yourself of this today? 

Day 11 (3/31): Truthful Tuesday! In this time of great trial and tribulation, it is easy to become stressed, thinking that we need to do more than what we are called to do. Recognizing what we can do, and perhaps more importantly, what we are not called to do can allow us to live full lives. So ask yourself today: What are my strengths, and what are my limitations? 

Day 10 (3/30): Make the Most Monday! How has your strength surprised you during this time that has maybe made you a bit sad, hopeless, isolated? 

Day 9 (3/27): Compassion Friday! You may feel stuck, but you are still full of potential for showing compassion. List ways you have showed compassion towards others this week!

Day 8 (3/26): Great sorrow and great joy are often seen to be parts of the same experience, (overcoming a large challenge in school, disagreements with close friends). How is this especially true right now, in the midst of the pandemic ?

Day 7 (3/25): Being in quarantine has meant that we are missing out on some big life events. Times like these can teach us valuable lessons about honoring our grief and sadness, while seeing how joy can exist at the same time. It is good to simply be in these moments. What might you be missing during this time? How do you feel about it?

Day 6 (3/24): Find something special in your home that makes you feel like you belong. Why does this object make you feel this way? How can you share this feeling with someone else in your home today? Take a picture of this item, journal about it, or place it someone where everyone can see it.

Day 5 (3/23): Week two of online learning! How do I feel mentally? Physically? Spiritually? How does the way I feel differ than the beginning of last week?

Day 4 (3/20): Think back to Monday, when online learning began. How have you grown during this first week? What have you learned about yourself? Make a goal for yourself for week 2 of quarantine.  

Day 3 (3/19): Today is the first day of spring! Pope Francis once said: "Each day in our world, beauty is born anew." What does this quote mean to you?

Day 2 (3/18): What are you hopeful for today? How will you remind yourself of this hope throughout the day?

Day 1 (3/17): What does "home" mean to you? Look around your house today. What brings you joy? Peace? Confidence? 

Looking for something peaceful to reflect to? Missing the great outdoors? Think outside the box and watch these animal live stream videos!

https://www.adventure-journal.com/2020/03/if-youre-stuck-inside-might-as-well-enjoy-this-list-of-animal-cams/?fbclid=IwAR0Y5z1HMIxooQ6CqjShL2sOAqMm5shoky4FPQwZVlA69P5i8ElAGnzsM-Y

Resources for Parents (you're doing a GREAT job!):

https://bedtime.fm/peaceout -> Mindfulness bedtime stories! 

- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0P3Deuv8tbc -> Mindful Walking. Don't neglect your emotions and feelings. Take time everyday to help your kids get in tune with themselves. It will increase happiness in the home! 

 

- "Parenting Through Covid-19" from UW (follow this ginormous 

link):  https://education.uw.edu/news/professor-launches-livestream-series-parenting-through-covid-19?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTmprd1pUZzRNakl4WmpoayIsInQiOiJma2lcLzVQREQyXC9tTHdRcFNpUDA0a0hUSG44MFZQZnMwd0tVOTRZenN5K3JIbCtwRTg1b3NJTE9PRDZ1SEVzRFlyUDlSNFc3MUowVkFUOVJwSGxBK3pucGFhSGFTR3paUFFSQzBDR3lJTE5waFwvQUtrOWY0T21DUmljaEVzem1iOSJ9

- Self-Compassion: It all starts here. Are you being kind to yourself during this pandemic? It is almost impossible to love those around us if we do not feel that we are enough, that we are connected, or that we are deserving of love. Take some time to think about self-compassion at the beginning of each day: 

https://self-compassion.org/

- Helping Kiddos with ADHD https://www.additudemag.com/feeling-depressed-adhd-youth-quarantine/

                              - Explore this website for more help with kiddos who struggle with ADD. For parents and kids who have ADD, Dysgraphia, Dyslexia, Autism, Down syndrome, or anything else, remember that you are never alone, (even in quarantine!), there are so many others' in this with you!

- Wide Open School: https://wideopenschool.org/

TONS of resources for families with topics like scheduling, emotional well-being, activities for home, and more!

- Center for Healthy Minds: https://centerhealthyminds.org/well-being-toolkit-covid19 - Great resources for kids and families to access during this time. 

Flipgrid Lessons:

Self-Compassion: https://flipgrid.com/stcatscounselor

Mindfulness: https://flipgrid.com/mrwardmindfulness

Media Influences and Inspirations during Quarantine: https://flipgrid.com/ward2932

Love Languages: https://flipgrid.com/cb60a7cc

Games and Brain Breaks:

These games are brought to you by an organization I worked for in Boston called Playworks. They rock. Follow the links to learn how to play:

This is a warm-up is called "Shake it Up, Shake it Down." Great to start the day with!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPbyZ096A38

This is a game called "Crack the Code."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FljuNtVc_-g&feature=youtu.be&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTXpsaU5Ea3dZalZqT0dFMSIsInQiOiJ1UElXblwvRzVudENFT2F3emxvcFF5a1dqUlpUb2V0XC8yS2dIa1pWeG0zXC95ajgyTzFlK1BTbkFpVXJkK1Fwd2RQQWE1MFdTK3VtcWVEWlFJeWpBVEVMcXhGYXVxcU1zaVhzc1hsa2RkVCtwWGRSdHRNdkNpVnVGVzFFUkE5ckt1RSJ9

This is a game called "Popcorn."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ot40kdLBZhk

This is a game called "One Step Back."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Lzo2Kuw29c

You can find many games like these on Playwork's YouTube Channel, found via the links above. 

Mindfulness, Meditation and Online Therapy: 

 

List of Free Mindfulness Resources: https://www.theawakenetwork.com/free-online-meditation-resources-for-the-time-of-social-distancing/

Abide App: https://abide.co/

 

Headspace App (FREE RIGHT NOW!): https://www.headspace.com/ -> Find them on YouTube as well! https://www.youtube.com/user/Getsomeheadspace

 

REAL Therapy (FREE for one month): https://www.join-real.com/real-to-the-people --> Great for parents, too!

The Art of Living: https://event.us.artofliving.org/us-en/hcp-online-wellness-program/

Coaches for Good: (Half hour, FREE): https://www.coaches4good.org/?fbclid=IwAR1iJTAbLC8VjcJR9fCD6153xDA0LtTAwDAna9U2pdcYRJUPfRxTi1LiZBo

Resources and Printables to help with Home Schooling:

Games, what to do when I'm bored, (with and without siblings!), and daily to-do lists:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1U26PKLsQ-FpPrx3OUzDDkLqK27-fbDhG/view 

Stay at Home Care Package: https://biglifejournal.com/blogs/blog/stay-at-home-printable-pack-families

https://gostrengthsftp.s3.amazonaws.com/Printables/ChallengeJourn_GoZenPrintables.pdf

Activities:

Check it out, the KIND Challenge! Follow this link to look back on the KIND Challenge activities. 

During this time, we can be particularly mindful of how we inspire others towards acts of kindness! If you have any fun pictures of yourself doing an act of kindness, getting fresh air, or creatively exercising your mental health, send them my way! 

Meet Mr. Ward

Hello, families of St. Catherine’s!

My name is Kevin Ward, and I am your student’s school counselor. After spending the past three years in Chicago, where I received my MEd from DePaul University, I am back home in the PNW. Before moving to Chicago, I attended Gonzaga University, (Go Zags), and then volunteered for a year in the Boston Public Schools through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. I am a big believer in Catholic education and the value of mental healthcare, social/emotional learning, and strong community.

What is the role of a school counselor?

I am grateful for the opportunity to be here full-time as St. Catherine’s school counselor. Through this opportunity, I am able to offer a comprehensive school counseling program to all students at St. Catherine’s. This program will be driven by student data and include a multitude of interventions regarding the student’s development in three domains: social/emotional, academic, and college/career. Students will see me in the classroom teaching lessons that fall into these three domains, leading small groups, and meeting with students on an individual basis when needed, (as well as on the playground every day!). I have an open door policy for any student who needs a quiet space to vent, work out conflict, reflect, or simply take some time for themselves.

Mental health is something we all need to care for. Even when we feel our best, it is important to exercise our brain and care for our well-being. Teaching students the value of this at a young age is highly beneficial. Please feel free to contact me with anything regarding your students’ mental and emotional health within the context of their academic success and social/emotional development. My office is located straight through the door to the main office.

Email: kward@stcatherineschool.net

Social/Emotional Developmental Stages in Children

Gaining a healthy appreciation for the patterns of social/emotional development of children influences the way we teach, support, and inspire our students and/or children. The mysteries of childhood are endless and beautiful, but still have the ability to leave us frustrated and anxious if we suspect something is awry. More so, we know that each child will develop at his or her own pace. However, It is still important to understand the basic developmental stages of children before we let our worries get the best of us. By watching for these developmental stages, we can change the way we speak, act, and listen to children so that they may thrive to the best of their abilities. 

Below, I have attached social/emotional developmental stages, compiled by counselors at St. Anne's and St. Joe's Schools in Seattle. They are excellent resources to lean on as educators and parents. But remember, these are simply guides and snapshots of development, not answers for everything in your child's life. 

"Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believer in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity." 

1 Timothy 4:12

Confidentiality

Students are invited to speak openly and honestly in my office space. I tell each student that I will only break confidentiality if they disclose one or more of three things to me:

1) Someone is hurting them. 2) They want to hurt themselves. 3) They want to hurt someone else.  

Click on the link below to view ASCA's position on confidentiality:

Outside Mental Health Referrals

Getting help from an outside counselor is more common than many people think. If you think that your child could benefit from having someone outside of school to talk to, please do not hesitate to contact mental health professionals. It can feel daunting at first, but the gifts that come from it are worth pursuing. Below, I have complied a list of outside resources for counseling and evaluations to help you get started. 

Monthly Newsletters

Nifty Mental Health Links:

Building Resilience in your kids:

https://www.heysigmund.com/building-resilience-children/

4 Keys to Mental Well-Being:

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/the_four_keys_to_well_being

Transitioning to High School:

http://www.parenttoolkit.com/grade-levels/high-school

Recognizing warning signs of mental illness:

https://www.nami.org/find-support/nami-programs/nami-ending-the-silence

Suicide Prevention Links:

http://www.intheforefront.org/king-county/

****************************************************************************************************

IF YOU REQUIRE IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE AT ANY TIME THE FOLLOWING NUMBERS ARE AVAILABLE RESOURCES:

If you or someone you care about feels overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression or anxiety, or like you want to harm yourself or others call 911.

You can also contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text MHFA to 741741 to talk to a Crisis Text Line counselor.

                             

OTHER RESOURCES FOR SUPPORT:

RAINN (sexual assault) 800-656-4673 (HOPE) Chat option at rainn.org

1in6 male sexual violence survivor resource (sexual assault): https://1in6.org/  Online Support Groups

You can also contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text MHFA to 741741 to talk to a Crisis Text Line counselor.

Please reload

St. Catherine School        
8524 8th Ave NE
Seattle, WA 98115
206.525.0581