How to Explain Red Ribbon Week to Our Little Guys

I struggle each year with a creative way to explain Red Ribbon Week to my younger preschool and elementary-aged students. I don’t think this community of children need to hear the repeated “Don’t Do Drugs” mantra. It just doesn’t make much sense to them. In fact, I didn’t even buy red ribbons for my students this year. 

GASP! I know. What a terrible, terrible counselor. But I’ll be honest. I wanted a more meaningful activity. One that they might actually remember and keep as a momento. Not a red ribbon that will be splattered with ketchup and mud in 4 minutes, fall off before lunch, and find stuck to the bottom of someone’s shoe on their way out to carpool. 

How To Explain RRW to Young Students

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Parent Tip Tuesday: My Top 5 Favorite Home Schooling Activities

Helping parents develop confident

I have a few friends who are former teachers and are now amazing stay-at-home moms, who have decided to home school their children. Just thinking about how awesome teaching is and seeing all those little light bulbs spark each day; and then to think about the same thing happening with your very own children, I can only imagine the joy these friends must feel. These amazing stay-at-home moms are my inspiration for today’s post.  Continue reading →

Parent Tip Tuesday: How to Play with Your Child

Helping parents develop confident

There is no hiding my passion for play. I’ve written in the past about how important free, child-directed play is in the development of children. As a counselor, I have been trained in many play therapy techniques. I’ve read the literature, I’ve gone to the classes, I’ve watched the videos, I have spent the past 9 years preparing myself to play with children in such a way that promotes their development socially and emotional. Continue reading →

Listening with the Heart

There is chart, after chart, after chart of information regarding which gains or milestones a child must hit in their development. Most parents and schools are concerned with cognitive and physical development. Can my kid read when he’s suppose to? Was he an early walker?

There is no doubt that hitting milestones in cognitive development is important, but focusing only on this aspect isn’t looking at the big picture of development. What about play development? Social and emotional development?

As school counselors and play therapists, our whole profession is focused on developing these critical areas of child development. The most overlooked part of a developing child is their ability to play and their ability to relate. I say it all the time, but I’ll say it again. Despite our best efforts, children will not learn how to play or how to relate if you don’t teach them!

A HUGE developmental milestone for school-aged children is the development of empathy.

Empathy for Web Continue reading →

How to Build Mini Sand Trays for Your (School) Counseling Room

I cannot take credit for actually preparing these mini sand trays that are now in my possession. One of my very dear colleagues used these sand trays and many of the miniatures for her research project for grad school. When she was finished, she so generously donated them to me for my play room.

I can speak first hand about their making because I am also proud to say that this dear colleague is one of my best friends and so I was there (watching) with her the whole time.

Setting Up Mini Sand Trays

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Preschool Animal Hunt

Beginning this year I started working with our preschool students . . . we are talking 3 and 4 year olds. There is nothing more in this world that makes me more confused about having kids than working with preschoolers.

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New name! But Why?!

Before starting this blog in 2012, I was a first year school counselor, a grad student, member of a professional dance team, and a side artist. I had little time and quickly became frustrated with the lack of resources I was finding out there for busy school counselors like myself. I started the blog in hopes of helping others around me with similar issues. Continue reading →

The Importance of Play in Elementary Schools

I was recently published in the International Journal of Play Therapy for my research done during my graduate work at the University of Saint Thomas. I focused my research on the effectiveness of using play activities during small group lessons to help improve appropriate classroom behaviors. I wish I could freely share my research here, but I think the IJPT wouldn’t appreciate that much. Please take some time to look for it though. The article title is Examining the Use of Play Activities to Increase Appropriate Classroom Behaviors. Below I have given you excerpts from the unedited version of my manuscript, including all the research I did on people who previously utilized play in schools. Continue reading →