School Readiness Camp-Empathy and Perspective Taking/Teamwork
Written by Rachel Ealy, M.Ed, LPC-Intern
Welcome to week two of my three-week blog series coving our upcoming School Readiness Camp. This week’s blog will take a closer look at empathy and perspective taking as well as teamwork. Below are links to my two previous blogs. One covering what group counseling is, the benefits of group counseling, and how to talk to your child about group counseling: https://heightsfamilycounseling.com/blog/2019/5/29/summer-counseling-camps-have-arrived and the other covering our School Readiness Camp format as well as two of the topics that will be covered (what to expect at school and expected/unexpected behaviors): https://heightsfamilycounseling.com/blog/2019/7/1/school-readiness-camp-what-to-expectexpected-and-unexpected-behaviors.
Just as a reminder, Heights Family Counseling’s child and adolescent therapists, Rachel and Kristin, will co-lead this camp open to children entering kindergarten through 2nd grade. The camp will be held Monday, July 29th through Friday, August 2nd from 10:00am-11:15am at our office located at 2500 Summer St., Houston, TX 77007 #1220.
Our School Readiness Camp is designed for children who are unsure of what to expect on the first day; children experiencing anxiety, nervousness, or stress related to starting school or getting in to the routine, and for those that may need to touch up on some skills before starting the school year. Being anxious or nervous about school is not a requirement! Those that are more confident and ready for the school year can help those who may be more nervous and those that are more nervous can help the children that are more confident in other ways. Let’s face it, grade school is hard and each year comes with its own challenges! There are many things to navigate including routines and schedules, school rules, making new friends, meeting lots of new adults, and perhaps getting up earlier than usual.
This week’s blog will feature two of the six topics covered in the group. The topics of the group include communication and listening skills, frustration tolerance, what to expect at school, expected and unexpected behavior, teamwork and relationship building, as well as empathy and perspective taking. Stay tuned for summaries on additional topics.
Heights Family Counseling’s School Readiness Camp’s main goals are to prepare your child for starting school and to ease the transition in to elementary school. Rachel and Kristin developed a curriculum tailored specifically to assist with your child’s needs. This week I will be reviewing 1) Empathy and Perspective taking and 2) Teamwork/Relationship building:
1) Empathy and Perspective taking
Learning about empathy and perspective taking are integral parts of your child’s social and emotional development. These are especially important to learn about when starting school so that your child can begin to learn to navigate other’s feelings. Your child will learn the definitions of both empathy and perspective taking, their similarities, and their differences. These terms are difficult to grasp, even for adults. Rachel and Kristin will use hands-on activities in order to make sure that your child adequately understands empathy and perspective taking, how to show empathy towards others, as well as how to take the perspective of others. Parents-you will be encouraged to reinforce these topics by practicing with your child every day, even after school starts. These activities will also sharpen your child’s skills in recognizing their own body language as well as others’ body language.
2) Teamwork/Relationship building
The best thing about group counseling is children getting to learn from other children their age in a safe environment. Group counseling fosters building skills to work in a team. Being able to work in a team or group is extremely important, especially for your child’s future. Teamwork is not only important between students, but between teacher and student as well. Effective teamwork shows that your child is able to use skills related to communication and compromise. When your child’s teacher assigns group work, there is a common goal to be worked toward. Not everyone works toward goals in a similar way, which is completely fine, as long as your child knows how to navigate this in an appropriate manner. In order to assist in your child’s ability to work effectively in a group, Rachel and Kristin will provide scenarios to roleplay. Each child will have the opportunity to practice skills in order to understand the importance of teamwork and how to accomplish group work efficiently.
At the end of the week, your child will be sent home with a resource folder so that you are able to practice and reinforce the skills that they learned during camp. This will help strengthen learning and to keep anxious feelings at bay. Remember, all feelings are okay to have! If your child is still feeling anxious, that is okay. Take the time to validate and empathize with your child. Remind them that you are proud of them for preparing for the first days of school and that they have a set of new skills that will help them get through challenging times. Let them know that you are there for them and you know what it is like to start something new!
How to Sign Up
You can call our office at 713-380-1151 to sign up for our school readiness camp. Our wonderful intake specialist, Helena, will guide you through the process of getting your child set up. You can also email Rachel or Kristin directly at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. We are happy to offer a free 15-minute phone consultation to answer any questions that you may have about the camp. During the parent-only intake, your counselor will gather information about your child in order to get to know your child and to make sure that the camp is a good fit.