The Pueblo West View

Counseling program comes to PW

Children can learn things like simple tricks for conflict resolution and how to recognize, understand and deal with their feelings and emotions through workshops that will be offered through Pueblo West Parks and Recreation and led by a school counselor.

Valerie Saisi is a licensed school counselor in District 60 and who lives in Pueblo West.

She said she is saddened to know that her children don’t have a counselor in their District 70 schools to teach them these skills, so she wanted to offer them to others.

The workshops are for kids ages Pre-K to sixth grade and will be held July 28 and July 30.

There are three separate sessions – Pre-K through first grade, second through fourth grade and fifth and sixth grades.

“The whole reason to have a counseling program is it’s a preventative, proactive measure, addressing issues early on,” Saisi said.

“A lot of this will be learning hands-on activities and games for the younger kids, teaching them all basic skills.

“I’ll have handouts for the parents and websites that they can follow up with.”

For the Pre-K to first grade crowd, the workshop focuses on simple conflict resolution, such as how to deal with someone taking your toy and basic social skills.

“Some kids may not have exposure to being around a lot of other kids.

“Maybe they need to know how to ask for help or how to tell someone to stop pushing them,” Saisi said.

“And it’s also being able to sit still long enough and listen.

“We have amazing teachers, but they don’t always have the time to sit down and do a character lesson on why it’s important to keep their hands to themselves or how to ask for help.”

Second through fourth graders will learn about empathy and how to deal with feelings or emotions.

Saisi said there are simple social skills that kids need to have by this age or they will start to be excluded.

“Dealing with feelings – I’m angry, so what can I do? Hit or throw things? No. I’m in the middle of a classroom, so what should I do?” she said.

“If you can teach empathy early on, you can stop a lot of bullying later.”

Saisi said kids this age need to learn to identify their feelings and deal with them, not suppress them or it will backfire later after holding it all in.

For the fifth and sixth graders, the workshop will focus on the difference between being aggressive and being assertive – sticking up for yourself versus being an aggressor.

“Bullying is a behavior, and it can be changed,” Saisi said.

“And some people don’t really understand the definition of bullying, which is a repeated action that is intentional to gain control over another person.

“We’ll talk about stopping it before it happens, learning to ban together instead of against each other.”

Registration for the workshops began this week.

The Pre-K-first grade session is from 3:30-4:30 p.m., second through fourth grade is 4:30-5:30 and fifth and sixth graders are from 5:30-6:30.

The classes will be at the Memorial Rec building on George Dr. Call the Parks and Rec office at 547-7400 for more information.

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