Welcome Early Years Parents! My name is Kevin Fields and I am the Early Years School Counselor for Grades PreK-1. I’m excited to welcome back the familiar faces from last year and for those of you who are new to the UAS Community, I am glad your child is here. I hope to develop a lasting and helpful relationship with all of you to ensure your student’s academic success.
I often encounter parents who are unsure of the distinct role of the school counselor, particularly in the elementary school. For many adults the only interaction they have had with school counselors have been at the secondary level; connecting to get information about class scheduling and college admissions. Although that role is often still the same at the secondary level, in recent years it has grown to encompass more, and the role of the Primary Grade School Counselor is vastly different.
School Counselors are educators that directly, and indirectly provide students with social, emotional, and behavioral instruction. Much recent research has found a strong link between student’s social-emotional skills and their success academically.
In the early years program I provide the following student supports:
- In-classroom social-emotional lessons to all students
- Small groups for students whom need additional social, emotional, and behavioral learning instruction (grades KG2-1)
- Brief 1:1 individual social, emotion, and behavioral instruction and/or personal counseling
- In classroom student observation and coaching
- School-wide behavioral systems supervision
- Parent consultation
- Staff and parent training around social-emotional learning
If you have a particular concern about your child and would like some guidance or suggestions on how to respond, please know that I am resource to help. Please send me an email to schedule an appointment. I would also direct you to the UAS Elementary Counseling Blog that I share with Ms. Jen, the school counselor for Grades 2-5. We often post information, and parenting strategies pertinent to immediate school issues. The blog can be accessed at http://sites.uasdubai.ae/escounselors/.
The last thing I would like to mention are suggestions for the first few weeks of school, particularly the first few days. For many young children, leaving mom and dad can be very stressful. Often parents share the anxiety with their child. It is very normal for children and parents to be very upset about leaving their separating the first couple of weeks of school.
On the morning of day one, you may find your child having a significant emotional reaction to your departure. My advice is to plan ahead. Here are some strategies for a healthy separation:
- Talk about the departure well ahead of time and what it will be like
- Come up with a goodbye ritual and routine– a special kind of hug or wave goodbye that you and your child created together. Drop off and pickup routines are the same day in and day out so the child knows what to expect.
- Leave quickly and without fanfare – hanging around after your goodbye is often disconcerting for children and unnecessarily extends the transition into the school environment.
- Be consistent – changing the routine and showing up early or unannounced can confuse your child and restart the feelings of anxiety they experienced earlier.