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Instructor: Mrs. Slater   

"St. Martin's Episcopal School is dedicated to providing a quality education of the whole person in a loving,Christian atmosphere, which fosters lifelong learning".

Dear Parents,

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all of you to St. Martin's Episcopal School and to introduce myself. My name is Cyndi Slater and I am the Guidance Counselor for Early Childhood and First Grade. 
 My responsibilities include working with teachers to assess behavioral and/or academic problems, assisting parents with necessary referrals, and providing Character Education to individual classes.
I am on campus Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. My office is located in Young Hall.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any concerns or questions 404.228.0725 or email cslater@stmartinschool.org.
I look forward to an exciting year!

Cyndi Slater, LCSW
Class Announcements
Having Fun Until the End
It is mid-May and we are still having fun!  Here is what we are doing in Guidance:
The Beginners met Huggtopus today and learned about two new feelings:  silly and frustrated.  We all learned that tickling makes most feel silly and I also got an earful about what makes them feel frustrated.  Helping children understand emotions and make connections are important life skills.

PreK  enjoyed the story "Chrysanthemum" by Kevin Henkes.  They discussed the importance of not making fun of others for any reason and reflected on what it feels like to be the target of teasing.

Kindergarten heard a story about Thaddeus the platypus, who always has a positive attitude about trying to solve problems.  Students then described a time they had to try something new.

PreFirst classes are enjoying some surprise visitors:  DAD'S!  A special thank you to the fathers that have kindly volunteered to come to our class to talk about their own childhood heroes.  The presentations so far have been interesting and diverse.  The students beam when their father comes through the door. So, again thanks to the Dad's for making this project a huge success!!

First Grade students tried their hand at practicing  Mindfulness this week.  I was surprised to hear that many of my students have trouble going to sleep.  We practiced a body relaxation exercise that can be helpful for those times at bedtime or any time kids want to get their brain a break.  The CD I used is "Still Quiet Place" by Amy Saltzman,MD.

Next week all Kindergarten students will watch The Safeside Video which teaches children about stranger safety.  It was developed by John Walsh, host of America’s Most Wanted and Julie Clark, creator of Baby Einstein. The program has been viewed and approved by members of our Parent’s Council. The video portion is an “interesting and engaging blend of zany characters, humorous situations, and serious safety messages.” Kids really love this video and it has won numerous awards, including Parent’s Magazine “2005 Video of the Year” and three Youth Programming Emmy’s.
The movie is structured around defining three types of grownups: Don’t Knows, Kinda Knows and Safe Side Adults. We use the term “Don’t Know” and “Kinda Know” because their meaning is more precise and understandable than the word “stranger”. Safe Side Adults are a child’s most trusted grownups, and need to be designated by the child’s parents. I encourage you to use this opportunity to have a family discussion to address safety with your children. Decide together who are your Safe Side Adults (family or trusted friends that your children can always leave with) and Kinda Knows (people you know but would not leave with). Be sure to review Hot Tips for Cool Kids and complete the Safe Side Data found on the back of this letter.
To learn more about Stranger Safety, go to www.thesafeside.com.
If you have specific questions, comments, or feedback, you can contact me at 404-228-0725 or email cslater@stmartinschool.org.

And finally, I will be out of town from May 19-24.  A little R&R before summer!
Joyce Hunn will cover my classes.

Thanks again for sharing your children with us.  They truly brighten my day.

This week in Guidance
Here is what we are doing in Guidance this week:
No class for Beginners.  They are too busy practicing for their musical.  Next week I will introduce  the Hugoctopus Kimochi to the students.
PreK classes enjoyed hearing the story of "Big Al", a scary looking fish who is judged by how he looks.  Students discuss the importance of getting to know others instead of judging based on looks.
Kindergarten classes have been focused on self-esteem.  Children enjoyed the book "I Like Me" and were asked to draw something they like about themselves.  This week we will read "I Can Do Anything" to continue to explore and celebrate student accomplishments.
PreFirst students have invited their fathers to join our class to share about their childhood heroes.  Several fathers have already signed up, so please do not delay in contacting me for an available time.
First Grade students worked together last week to work on friendship cards advice.  This week we will read "Rising Above the Storm Clouds" which presents the theme of forgiveness.
May will be over before we know it.  I will be away May 19-24 so if you have any concerns, please try to reach me before I leave.

We are having so much fun!!
Dear Parents,
I hope everyone is enjoying this magnificent weather, minus the brutal storms coming through.  I hope everyone has stayed safe and free of large falling trees.  I am sure there have been a number of little ones climbing in to your beds following the loud thunder.

Here is what is happening in Guidance this week:

The Beginners' students are enjoying meeting the various Kimochis.  They first met Cloud, who is a little unpredictable:  sometimes he is happy, other times he is sad.  Students used this opportunity to explore the feelings of happy and sad.  Next we met bug who is extremely cautious and does not like change.  Students used this opportunity to talk about being brave and trying new things.  This week I will introduce Huggtopus, who is overly friendly and needs help maintaining boundaries. 

PreK students enjoyed the story of Stella Luna as well as a story called Someone Special Just Like Me which introduces the concept of children with disabilities.  The students learned about sign language, Braille, and wheelchairs.  This week we will also focus on a special needs little bird called Tibby, who pushes beyond his fears to be a bird super hero!

Kindergarten students have been enjoying stories like "When I feel Angry" and "Stand Tall, Molly Lou Mellon".  The activities have involved teaching children which activities they can engage in to help themselves recover when they feel angry.  They also discussed how Molly Lou Melon ignored teasing and learned how to be proud of her differences.

PreFirst classes continue to research "Giraffes" in books.  Giraffes is the term we use to describe people who stick their necks out to help others.  The tend to share three characteristics:  they are brave, caring, and persistent.  Students have been introduced to Mother Theresa, Rosa Parks, and from two fiction books, Edwina and Edward the Emus.
During May I would like to invite all PreFirst Dad's, yes, I said DAD'S to join our class to tell students about your childhood heroes.  Each presentation can be brief (10-15 minutes) and the atmosphere is very relaxed.  We did this last year and it was great fun to learn about the people that parents looked up to twenty and thirty years ago.  I can't tell you how proud students are when their Dad takes the time to join us in class.  Please try to be part of this special event.  Our class meets on Mondays from 2:30-3:00.  Email me to schedule a class time for your visit.

First Grade continues to work on Friendship Skills.  Last week students worked together to brainstorm ideas on how to make and keep friends.  We continue to focus on kindness and being aware of others feelings.  Empathy  and understanding how ones behavior affects others are two very important skills that need to be reinforced with children this age.

Also, spring is the time for several opportunities to teach your children about Service and Community.  Many organizations hold walks or fundraisers to help those who are less fortunate.  Consider taking your family to one of these events so that you can teach your children about supporting others.  The Autism Walk is May 22 at the World Congress Center.
I will post more opportunities as they become available.
Okay, this one is not for charity, it just looks like a lot of fun:
Easter Dog Parade on W - Perimeter's Patio
Sun, Apr 24 - Labs and Bassets and Bunnies - Oh my! W Atlanta - Perimeter invites guests to bring their favorite four legged friends to become a part of the first annual Easter Dog Parade on the patio of the property's restaurant, Savu

Thanks again for sharing your children with us!
Cyndi Slater

Hello Parents,
Okay, I am not really sure what happened to the month of February, but I will not look back to much.  Spring is here and with it comes a lot of excitement in the classrooms.
Here is what we have been up to and what we will be doing next:

Beginners have been enjoying several lessons which focus on being flexible with their friends.  We watched the Todd Parr movie called "Princess Pirate" where characters had to be flexible about what they wanted to play.  We also have been practicing being flexible with our muscles by practicing Yoga for Kids.  I recently have introduced new characters called Kimochis which help children gain an understanding of their feelings.  The Kimochis are a big hit and we will continue to work with these through the month of March.

Prekindergarten classes have begun to explore other cultures through the books I have presented.  The goal is to help students recognize that their are other children around the world who may look different and speak different, but they share many similarities.  We have explored American Indian culture by reading "The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush",the Mexican culture with "Manana Iguana", and Egyptian culture with "Head Body Book" This week we will explore African culture.  In addition to learning about other cultures, these books have helpful message about cooperation and acceptance.

Kindergarten continues to enjoy the stories of Duso and the underwater problem solvers, but we also enjoyed some other resources as well.   In February the students watched a movie by Todd Parr called  The Fort.  In the classes that followed, the students were able to practice cooperative learning by working with a peer to design and draw a play fort.  It was great fun and the students were super creative.  We also read Marc Brown's book "How to be a Friend" which describes friendly behaviors to engage in and not so friendly behaviors to avoid.  When we returned to Duso adventures, the students met Ruby the Red fish who needed to lean on her friends to get help out of a sticky situation.  We also met Pudge Puffer who needed a lesson in not judging fish before he got to know them. 

PreFirst classes have continued to learn about "Giraffes" in literature.  We read "Amazing Grace", "Ellison the Elephant", and "Martin Luther King Jr.".  Students will start identifying giraffes in their own lives, real or fiction, that demonstrate the qualities of brave, caring and persistence.

First grade students have continued the study of friendship skills.  Students have learned about relational aggression, or using relationships to hurt others.  They know the three roles include a aggressor, a target, and a bystander.  I take a lot of time emphasizing the bystander role because this is the one that most children will find themselves in.  We read the book "Say Something" , "Just Kidding", and "Mookey Gets Teased", all books which help children understand the best ways to respond to peers who tease or use mean words or actions.  The students also made friendship gardens and are working on identifying which friendship skills they each need to work on.

That is all for now.  Cyndi

January 2011
Sorry for the delay.  I believe that School Fusion was having some technical difficulties for a few weeks, but now all is well.
So here is what I have been doing in Guidance this month:

The Beginners' class has enjoyed several stories this month.  The first featured Big Bird and focused on making mistakes and telling the truth about the mistake.   Other stories that were shared explore making friends and being friendly towards others.  This group continues to be adorable and I see great progress in their ability to sit and listen attentively.  They are also more apt to use their words to get their needs met instead of grabbing, pushing, or squeezing to get a space.

PreK students began the school year by finishing up the "Holidays Around the World" letters.  It was great fun for them to hear their stories and see their pictures in class.  Please send a special thanks to all the grandparents, aunts, and uncles who took time to contribute.  PreK has also enjoyed stories and a video that explores joining in to play and negotiating with friends.  This next month we will start to address the many differences that exist between friends and how to celebrate and accept differences.

Kindergarten classes have enjoyed meeting two new underwater friends this month.  Ruby the Redfish, who teaches us to not run away from problems, but to solve problems and Scrap the penguin, who reminds us that we all make mistakes.  We also heard the tale of a pirate who wears a cowboy hat.  We took time in class to explore different likes and dislikes and emphasized respects such differences.

PreFirst classes continue on their journey of identifying "giraffes", people who stick their necks out to help others.  They are brave, caring and persistent.  We have spent the first half of the year learning about real people.  Now we will look for giraffes in literature.  A great example is our beloved Horton character from "Horton Hears a Who" and "Horton Hatches an Egg".

First grade students are learning about relational problems.  I am using the book "My Secret Bully" by Trudy Ludwig to teach children about relational aggression.  After hearing the story, we have spent several classes having students role play different scenarios of the book.  The students love acting and they are able to learn the words to use if they ever find themselves in a similar situation.

Here is a fun website for brain training games:  moshimonsters.com/monsters

Well, that is all for now.  Happy February, Happy Fling, and Happy almost Spring!
Mind in the Making chapter 3: Communication
Chapter three reveals that children are born primed to communicate.  Research shows that the way parents talk, facial expressions and gestures towards babies influence the foundation of communication skills.  Experts advise that parents act like sports commentators, giving play by play descriptions of what is happening.  I remember once sitting next to a woman and an infant at a restaurant.  I was amazed that this woman spoke non-stop to this baby for the entire length of the meal as if she was speaking to a peer.   At the time I was about 20 years old and I thought she must be nuts and that poor baby, having to listen to her go on and on...  Little did I know she was helping her babies' brain be ready to learn.
 Another suggestion is to present children with a vast vocabulary, using synonyms instead of common words.
  A research team at Oregon State found that kindergartners with poor skills in focused attention and self control also had poor math and reading skills.  Here is a fun game to play which strengthens focused attention, working memory and inhibitory control:  "Touch your Toes"- when the leader says "Touch your toes", children need to do the opposite by touching their heads and vise versa.  Children have to pay attention to the directions, remember the rules, and inhibit the tendency to go on autopilot and follow the verbal directions.  Have fun!!!
December Guidance
Hello Parents and Friends,
I hope that everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving Holiday.  I always enjoy hearing the fun stories your children tell of playing with cousins and beloved family members.

The Beginner's class enjoyed telling me the best part of their Thanksgiving Break.  It is a fun time sharing and students learn how to take turns and practice listening skills   I also read "The Lonesome Polar Bear" by Jane Cabrera.  It is a sweet story of a polar bear seeking out a friend to play with.  We follow the story by a discussion about how we join in to play with others.

PreK classes are enjoying hearing the Christmas letters that many Grandparents have sent to us.  It is so exciting to see the student's face light up when they hear special messages from their family.
We will continue sharing the letters until break and after as they keep rolling in.

Kindergarten students participated in a lesson entitled "What Went Right Today".  Our discussion focused on a book by the same title and students shared their idea of a good day.

PreFirst class heard a story about Patch Adams, a Medical Doctor who also uses his clown skills to bring laughter to his patients.  I read the story of Dr. Adams and then asked the students to draw a picture of what they thought he looked like.  The portraits were terrific and have been added to our class scrapbook.

First Grade students will continue to explore friendship skills.  We read a chapter of a book called "Circle of Three" which tells of sticky friendship situations that can arise in a circle of three friends. 
Our theme is to keep an open circle of friends and not feel pressured to have only one best friend.  The best way to do this is to help build confidence in the children so that they have the courage to be kind.

I will be away from work next week, Thursday 12/9 and the following Monday.  Joyce Hunn, my faithful friend and substitute, will be offering Guidance lessons during my absence.

That is all for now.  Have a relaxing weekend.
Enjoy the show...Good, clean family fun

Reindog Parade

December 11
11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Join the once-a-year fun of dogs in the Atlanta Botanical Gardens! Dress your pooch in holiday finery to compete for prizes or to just show off. Also, connect with local canine enthusiasts and businesses in the Doggie Expo.

Don't have a dog? Come enjoy the show!
This Holidays in the Garden favorite is doggone fun for everyone.

Dogs compete in following categories:

Best Dog-Owner Look-a-Like
Best Botanical
Best Puppy (under 2 years)
Best Senior (older than 10 years)
Best Dog Pack
Not competing – just showing off!

Best Dog-Owner Look-a-Like Best Botanical Best Puppy (under 2 years) Best Senior (older than 10 years) Best Dog Pack Not competing – just showing


$15 per dog; all dogs must be pre-registered.
Maximum two dogs per person.
Deadline December 3 – space is limited!

Even if you don't have a dog, this is so much fun to watch!  Bring the family and make a day of it! 

I think I smell turkey and apple pie...
The Thanksgiving holiday is quickly approaching.  Here is what is happening in Guidance:

Last week the Beginner's class watched and then discussed a Todd Parr movie entitled "Big Foot".  This short movie introduces the concept of accepting others who are different and not making fun of others because of their differences.  This week we will introduce the concept of gratitude and make Thank you cards for special friends. 

The PreK classes are beginning to learn more about children from other parts of the world.  I read a book to them last week called "This is the Way We go to School" which describes how children from around the world get to school.  We used the globe to find the gondolas in Venice and snow mobiles in the Alps. 

The letters from Grandparents are rolling in.  I will start reading these as soon as we return from Thanksgiving break.  Parents, you did a great job getting me the envelopes in a timely manner.  Thanks for that.  If you have not sent in your envelopes, please do so quickly!
Kindergarten classes heard the story of Duso and his nephew, Squeaker.  They drew pictures of something they need to practice.  Squeaker's lesson is to keep practicing and improvements will come.  This week we will focus on gratitude and also make Thank you cards for special friends.

Pre First classes continue to hear stories of real people (giraffes) who stick their necks out to help others.  So far, they have learned about the potato people, the mom and dad with 3,000 sons, the woman with a scary secret, the woman who did not help people, and the women who fix houses.  Please ask the students to tell you one or all of the stories.  Repeating and retelling the stories helps with long-term memory skills.

First Grade students completed the Kindness Quilt.  It is displayed outside of my office.  If you are in the building, stop by and ask you child to show you their picture of kindness.  So far, we have discussed the positive friendship skills that we should practice.  We will now be discussing some of the behaviors that keep friends away in order to increase self-awareness and role play better choices.

Several SMES teachers attended the CHADD conference in Downtown Atlanta this past weekend.  CHADD stands for Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder.  If you want to know more about ADD, please contact me or go to the CHADD website.  It is a wealth of information and is very parent-friendly.  As soon as I review my notes from the conference, I will post some helpful information.
Have a great week!


Mind in the Making: Ch 2 Perspective Taking
Cognitive flexibility is in action when your children are playing pretend.  Let's say a group of children are playing "puppies", then a child changes the script to playing "superheroes".
A child who can "go with the flow" is demonstrating cognitive flexibility.  They are able to switch perspectives or the focus of attention and adjust to changes easily.

These are the same skills that are needed in perspective taking.  Researchers at MIT found that there is a specific part of the brain cortex that lights up on a fMRI when the subject thinks about the thoughts of others.  This skill calls upon the executive functions of the brain.  You must first inhibit your own thoughts and feelings in order to reflect on the thoughts of others.  Researchers have also found that children as young as 4 years old can understand that someone else could believe something different from them.

Why is perspective taking important?  Children who can understand others have less of a need to strike out and hurt others.  Children who feel empathy for others are more likely to stand up for someone who is being mistreated.  As adults, people are better at problem solving and negotiating with others if they have cognitive flexibility.

How to Promote Perspective Taking in Children:
1.  Practice what you preach:  Children who feel listened to and understood become better able to listen to and understand others.  Children also closely watch how you act and what you say.  My classic example is sitting at a sports event.  I see many parents who would scold their child for calling someone a "loser" or an "idiot" quickly revert to this type of name calling when a player or official make a mistake.
2.  Teach your children how to connect with others:  coach your children on how to join in play, meet new friends, and host friends at the house.
3.  Teach children how to solve problems.  Teach them that friends can disagree, get mad at each other and still remain friends if they know how to solve problems and/or forgive.
4.  Children who feel emotionally safe and secure are more adept at understanding others perspectives.  When your child has a tantrum, express empathy and understanding.  Try to see the world through their eyes.  It does not mean that you have to give in to them, but recognize that there are human needs behind all that emotion.  Help children learn different ways to express negative feelings without the tantrum.
5.  Use everyday moments
  to talk about other people's perspectives.
6.  Make a point of making your child aware of the effect of his/her behavior on another person, be it positive or negative.  "How do you think Grandma felt when we sent her a get well card?" or "How do you think Joey felt when you snatched that toy out of his hand?".
7.  Use books, television shows, and movies to talk about the character's feelings and intent.

Hope these ideas spark some nice opportunities for you to help your children with these skills.

November 3, 2010
This week in Guidance I am playing "catch up" with many classes that missed a lesson due to conferences last week. 

The Beginner's class will hear and discuss the story entitled "Words are not for Hurting" by Elizabeth Verdick.  We will practice nice ways to use our words with each other.  We will also practice some Yoga stretches which helps children promote concentration, develop gross motor skills, and practice visual processing.

Pre-K classes are hearing a story by Raoul Krischanitz, "Nobody Likes Me".  It is a story about a dog named "Buddy" who needs to learn how to join in to make new friends.  Pre-K parents also received a letter this week introducing the "Holidays Around the World" unit.  Please make every effort to participate.  Students feel so disappointed when they do not get their "15 minutes of fame" during our class time.  It does not need to be elaborate.

Kindergarten classes will focus on Gratitude this week.  I will read "On a Blue Day", then guide students to think about how gratitude can help them "get glad when they are feeling bad".  Please look for the corresponding pictures in their backpacks.

First Grade will enjoy a special presentation by Pharmacology students from Mercer University about Poison Safety.  Please ask them what they have learned when they get home! 
That is all for now!  Stay dry and warm!!

CHADD Conference in Atlanta 11/11-13
Parents who want to know more about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder should consider attending some or all of this conference."The Annual International Conference on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is for Parents, Caregivers, Health Care Professionals, Educators, Physicians and Adults with ADHD."  Russell Barkley, PhD is a national expert on ADHD.  He will be the keynote speaker on the evening of Thursday11/11 and I believe it is free to the general public!  It may just be the answer to many questions you may have about your child's learning experience.  For more information, go to CHADD.org.
PreK Parents: Very Important
Dear Parents of Pre-K Students,
The Pre-K Guidance curriculum is based on accepting diversity and teaching our students to understand the global world. I would like to introduce a unit called “Holidays around the World” which will help your children explore holiday traditions from their own ancestors.
I ask that each family send in 2 self-addressed, stamped envelopes addressed to members of your family (like grandparents, aunts/uncles, and other extended family). I will send them a brief letter asking them to write us back and share their favorite holiday traditions, which may or may not be influenced by the heritage. We would also like to know about your family’s country of origin. This activity is a fun way to teach the children their connection to the global world.
I will share the letters with the students in Guidance as I receive them and will create a lesson around the information presented. I know the students will be so excited to see a letter from their special relative. Please note that if you feel your family members may not be up for this assignment, letters from you will be celebrated as well. I hate for children to feel left out of this opportunity.
Please return the envelopes as soon as possible so we can begin the fun and learning!!
Walking Can Help Save Your Memories

According to a recent study published in the journal Neurology, walking at least 6 miles per week may help protect your gray matter volume and help preserve your memories. Study subjects who walked the most cut their risk of memory problems in half. Google Walking Can Help Save Your Memories

Mind in the Making: book notes
This is a great book by Ellen Galinsky.  But if you do not have time to read it, I will add some ideas on how to help your children develop important life skills.  She identifies 7 essential life skills, the first being  "focus and self-control".  These skills involve the executive functions of the brain such as paying attention, remembering rules, and inhibiting one's initial response to achieve a larger goal.  If you think this is an issue for your child, here are some suggestions to improve these skills.
1.  helping children manage their stress and regulate their emotions will help them maintain focus and self-control.  Support their efforts to effectively calm themselves down.
2.  Promote attention skills in fun games like "I SPY", guessing games, puzzles, "red light, green light", musical chairs, "Simon Says".
3.  Play any other listening games that encourage children to focus, remember and practice inhibiting responses. i.e, bingo, freeze dance,
4.  Pick computer games that promote listening skills.
5.  Play sorting games, then change the rules.  For example, sort playing cards, first by color then by low/high numbers.  The changes work on memory and cognitive flexibility.
6.  Play the story game where everyone takes turn adding to a story. 
These are all great and simple ways to develop your child's ability to focus and attend.

Stay tuned for suggestions on the next essential skill, perspective taking.
Kelly Dorfman,MS,LND conference
Have you ever wondered if your child is eating enough of the right foods?  Can a lack of proper nutrition affect attention, behavior and thinking?  Have these questions and many more answered by Kelly Dorfman.  She is a nutritionist with 29 years of experience.  She speaks around the country and she will be in our neighborhood this Saturday. Her conference will help "parents with practical tools to recognize symptoms of basic nutritional defieciencies in children which may interfere with optimal development and learning".  October 30, 2010 9-4 at Oglethorpe University- Lupton Auditorium $109 at the door.
October 18, 2010
Dear Parents,
Here's what is happening in Guidance.

The Beginner's students are learning about different feelings and beginning to reflect on what makes them feel happy or sad. We read the book "See How I Feel" and students practiced showing us different facial expressions related to different feelings.   Next week we will continue on this theme when I present Todd Parr's book "The Feel Good Book".

PreK classes will enjoy the book "Cat Up a Tree" and take part in an important discussion about community helpers. 

Kindergarten classes will watch a Todd Parr video "Best Friend", which will introduce the idea that sometimes having a best friend hurts other's feelings.  We discuss the importance of having a circle of friends so that no one feels excluded.  Students will draw their own circle of friends.

PreFirst will hear their first giraffe story about the Potato People, a group of men who ended the wasteful dumping of imperfect potatoes and got them to shelters which needed food.
I will introduce the concepts of being brave, caring, and persistent.

First Grade classes will hear the story of the Kindness Quilt and actually construct their own "quilt" in the following classes.

All classes will receive a lesson in Poison Control and Medication Safety next week, in conjunction with Red Ribbon Week.  I point out the similarities between candy and medicine, and remind children to always ask an adult if they are unsure.  On Nov. 5 a group of Pharmacy Studnets from Mercer University will make a similar presentation to Thursday afternoon classes (Light and Tyler).  A special thanks to Chris Klein
Book recommendation:  Mind in the Making by Ellen Galinsky.
Enjoy this beautiful fall weather and we look forward to seeing everyone at the Halloween parade.

Red Ribbon Week
Red Ribbon (Drug Education & Prevention) Week: 10.25 – 29, 2010
Wednesday, 10.27  – “Wear RED (t-shirt) Day
Thursday, 10.28 – “SOCK It to Drugs Day” –  wear their craziest socks
Friday, 10.29 – Non-Uniform Day – Faculty “I’m A JEAN-ius. I’m Drug Free! Day”

Guidance lessons for EL will focus on Poison Control and Medication Safety during this week.

October 6, 2010
It’s October!!
Dear Parents,
October is definitely here! The cooler temperatures, the excitement of Halloween, and the solidifying of friendships are all welcome clues.

Beginner students have been busy singing, dancing, and hearing stories.  Last week, we continued on the theme of "Hands are not for Hitting".  We practiced several techniques to help students inhibit aggressive behaviors when they are sad or mad.  We practiced breathing by blowing pin wheels, played with puppets, pushed on the wall, and discussed other strategies such as drawing, playing with clay, and sharing feelings.  This week I shared the book "Little Quack makes a Friend".  We discussed the importance of making friends and being kind to include all friends in play.
Pre-K classes have enjoyed learning about Diversity and Making Friends. 
In addition to Scruffy( a cute little stuffed Terrier) Pre-K classes have met the two little pigs, Toot and Puddle.  I shared their story of global exploration and celebrating differences.  
 I use the puppets during class to help children practice making eye contact and sharing information about themselves. Next week the students will meet the Stingray Family as I share Todd Parr’s "The Family Book", which explores the differences between and among families.
Kindergarten classes are enjoying getting to know Duso and the Underwater Problem Solvers. They have learned about friendships and what it means to be unique. We have also spent several lessons focused on understanding our feelings and those of others. We found lots of fun ways to role play and act out the different feeling states. Some of your children are super actors! 
Next week I shared the book "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" and ask students to draw a time they had a bad day. The goal of this exercise, and the part you will not see, is that after the children share what happened that made them feel sad or frustrated, they tell us what they did to stop feeling that way. This is an important lesson and one that I hope will be reinforced at home. Whether you are big or little, you can always do something to help yourself feel better. This helps children develop resilience and understand their ability to help themselves.  Your kids typically offer up a variety of great, healthy coping skills.
Pre First students have been hearing stories from the Giraffe Project about how giraffes grew their necks so long. These stories are based on our fictional characters, Stan Tall and his sister, Bea Tall, who share two different stories describing how persistence, caring and courage saved giraffe families from extinction. This month the students  will begin hearing real stories about real people who stick their necks out to help others. They too demonstrate persistence, caring, and courage.
First Grade has been busy working on Friendships. Students collectively, and then individually, have created their ideal friend who represents special friendship qualities. I am challenging students to exemplify the qualities that they want in a friend. Next week the students will enjoy the book, "Owen and Mzee", a true story of a friendship that developed between a hippo and a tortoise following the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia. Their story describes the challenges and benefits of an “unlikely friendship”.
All EC classes will participate in my Poison Control Presentation during the last week of October. 
My goal is to educate students about the dangers of ingesting any substance without a parents’ permission. Also, many medications that you keep around the house can be confused with candy. 
I reinforce the importance of asking an adult when in doubt.
Have a great month! Enjoyed the Halloween parade, Fall Fun Fest, and most of all, this amazing weather.
Sept. 15, 2010

Guidance this week: September 15,2010

Dear Parents,
Your children have spent the last month meeting new friends and learning
 the ropes about school! 

I have been visiting with our Beginners class. 
The students are enjoying singing,dancing, and stories about friendship.

I will meet with each Pre-K class weekly to provide Character Education
through a literature-based program.  The main focus throughout the year
will be Acceptance and Diversity as it relates to making friends.  
Thus far, I have read "Otto Goes to School" by Todd Parr and "Mind Your
Manners in School" by Arianna Candell.  Ask your children to tell you about
Scruffy's visits (he is a terrier puppet). 

Kindergarten students will enjoy the adventures of Duso, the dolphin and Sofie,
the sea otter.  These two underwater friends lead the way in Developing
Understanding of Self and Others (Duso)-  a program of activities that encourages
children to think of themselves as unique and worthwhile people. 
Ask you children about Duso and his friends and be sure to review
the work that comes home from our class.

The PreFirst class will have visits from two giraffes, Stan Tall and Bea Tall. 
The curriculum is the Giraffe Heroes Program, which teaches people of all
ages to be active, caring members of their communities. 
The Project works by finding heroes who are sticking their necks out to
take on tough challenges to help others.  The lessons are based on stories
of these heroes (whom we refer to as "giraffes").  By hearing and reading
the stories of these real heroes, students deepen their understanding of,
and appreciation for, the giraffe qualities of courage, caring, and persistence. 
Be sure to ask your children how giraffes developed their long necks.

I will be teaching First Grade classes as well.  I have developed a series
of lessons to help students learn the key social skills which will enable
them to initiate and maintain friendships as well as resolve interpersonal
conflicts so that they do not disrupt the climate of the classroom.  
This week children are identifying their ideas about characteristics of an
ideal friend. Next week they will create their own "ideal friend". 
Be sure to ask them to introduce their "new friend" to you.

For more information, please continue to refer to this website. 
I welcome any suggestions  about topics you may want to know more about.
You can contact me by email at
cslater@stmartinschool.org or by phone 404-228-0725.

Edit | Delete Announcement


Talking to Children about Death
                           September 9, 2010
Dear Parents,
By now, we imagine that you have heard the sad news of Judy Fronteir’s death.
 School counselors, teachers, and other support staff have been and will continue to be available to students, teachers, and parents. Please know that this support is available to you and your children. Although many Early Childhood students did not know Mrs. Fronteir, many of our students have siblings who are more directly affected.
We have also composed some guidelines for you to talk to your children about this loss. Remember, your guidance and calm leadership is the most significant factor in your child’s response. Children thrive on stability and routine, and maintaining their daily schedules will provide them comfort and a sense of security.
  • It is common for children to experience fear, insecurity and uncertainty in response to this type of loss. Some children may fear that others close to them will also die. These fears will not last forever. It is critical to respond with acceptance and reassurance, and offer comfort and understanding of their emotions and thoughts.
  • When talking to your children about Mrs. Fronteir, use age-appropriate language. Be specific and accurate as your child’s age and understanding allow.
  • Any loss reminds us of other painful losses in our lives. Do not be surprised if your child starts remembering loved ones or pets that have passed away.
  • Grieving is a process- for all of us. Your child may talk about this loss at seemingly random times. You may think that your child has resolved her sad feelings, and then suddenly she will be talking about it again.
  • Remember, children are very resilient. They also tend to be concerned with their own immediate experiences. For example, they may be very upset and tearful one minute, and then looking forward to a sporting event the next.
Thank you for your concern and compassion during this difficult time.
Please contact the Counseling Department if you have further questions or concerns.
Cyndi Slater, MSW
Early Childhood Counselor
Dear Parents,
Your children have spent the last few weeks meeting new friends and learning the ropes about school!  I have been visiting all Early Childhood and First Grade classes to help students adjust to their new environments.  Everyone is doing great!

The Beginner students are excited and enthusiastic about attending school!  They have an "instinctual enthusiasm" towards expanding their horizons, learning and meeting new friends.  They are working hard to learn everyone's names and the routine of school.  I have introduced Kelly the Bear, who will visit class and assist with helping students use kind words and kind actions.

I will meet with each Pre-K class weekly to provide Character Education through a literature-based program.  The main focus throughout the year will be Acceptance and Diversity as it relates to making friends.   Thus far, I have read "Otto Goes to School" by Todd Parr and "Heartprints” by PK Hallinan.

Kindergarten students will enjoy the adventures of Duso, the dolphin and Sofie, the sea otter.  These two underwater friends lead the way in Developing Understanding of Self and Others (Duso)- a program of activities that encourages children to think of themselves as unique and worthwhile people. 

The PreFirst class will have visits from two giraffes, Stan Tall and Bea Tall.  The curriculum is the Giraffe Heroes Program, which teaches people of all ages to be active, caring members of their communities.  The Project works by finding heroes who are sticking their necks out to take on tough challenges to help others.  The lessons are based on stories of these heroes (whom we refer to as "giraffes").  By hearing and reading the stories of these real heroes, students deepen their understanding of, and appreciation for, the giraffe qualities of courage, caring, and persistence. 

I will be teaching First Grade classes as well.  I have developed a series of lessons to help students learn the key social skills which will enable them to initiate and maintain friendships as well as resolve interpersonal conflicts.

The partnership between parents and educators is an important one.  Communication is the key to that partnership.  So, please spend the time to get to know your teachers and support staff. I look forward to seeing everyone at Back to School Nights.
For more information, please continue to refer to this website. 
You can contact me by email at
cslater@stmartinschool.org or by phone 404-228-0725.

Welcome To School!
Our students are busy meeting new friends and learning the ropes about school. I have been visiting all Early Childhood classes to help students adjust to their new environment. Everyone is doing great!! It has truly been a spectacular start of the year!

For more specific information about the Character Education classes, please continue to refer to my website on School Fusion under the Support Services section: Counseling/Slater. You can also contact me by email at cslater@stmartinschool.org or by phone
I look forward to an exciting year.

Cyndi Slater, MSW
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Thoughts at the Bottom of the Beanstalk
Once upon a time there was a boy named Jack who was about to climb his very first beanstalk. He had a fresh haircut and a brand new book bag. Even though his friends in the neighborhood had climbed this same beanstalk almost everyday last year, this was Jack's first day and he was a little nervous. So was his mother.

Early in the morning she brought him to the foot of the beanstalk. She talked encouragingly to Jack about all the fun he would have that day and how nice his giant would be. She reassured him that she would be back to pick him up at the end of the day. For a moment they stood together, silently holding hands, gazing up at the beanstalk. To Jack it seemed much bigger than it had when his mother had pointed it out on the way to the store last week. His mother thought it looked big too. She swallowed. Maybe she should have held Jack out a year...

Jack's mother straightened out his shirt one last time, patted his shoulder and smiled down on him. She promised to stay and wave while he started climbing. Jack didn't say a word. He walked forward, grabbed a low-growing stem and slowly pulled himself up to the first leaf. He balanced there for a moment, then climbed more eagerly to the second leaf, then to the third and soon he had vanished into a high tangle of leaves and stems with never a backward glance toward his mother. She stood alone at the bottom of the beanstalk, gazing up to the spot where Jack had disappeared. There was no rustle, no movement, no sound to indicate that he was anywhere inside. "Sometimes," she thought, "it's harder to be the one who waves good-bye than it is to be the one who climbs the beanstalk."

She wondered how Jack would do. Would he miss her? How would he behave? Did his giant understand that little boys sometimes acted silly when they feel unsure? She fought the urge to spring up the stalk after Jack and maybe duck behind a bean to take a peek at how he was doing. "I'd better not. What if he saw me?" She knew Jack was really old enough to handle this on his own. She reminded herself that after all, this was thought to be an excellent beanstalk and that everyone said his giant was not only kind but had outstanding qualifications. "It's not so much that I'm worried about him," she thought, rubbing the back of her neck. It's just that he's growing up and I am going to miss him." Jack's mother turned to leave. "Jack's going to have lots of bigger beanstalks to climb in his life" she told herself. "Today's the day he starts practicing for them...And today's the day I start practicing something too: cheering him on and waving good-bye."

Author Unknown
Discussion Topics
Counseling-Slater Calendar

Class Schedule for 2010-2011

Kirby:  Monday 12:50 pm-1:20 pm

Igleheart :  Monday 2:30 pm-3:00 pm

Frutiger: Wed. 9:10-9:30am

Thompson:  Wed. 9:40 am- 10am

McCormick:  Wed. 10:10-10:30am

Burnett:  Wed. 10:45-11:15 am

Roberts:  Wed.  12:50-1:20 pm

Wade:  Thursday 8:30-9:00 am

Hurlburt:  Thursday 10:10-10:40 am

Light:  Thursday 12:50-1:20pm

Tyler:  Thursday 2:30-3:00 pm

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