While distance learning continues, parents are at the forefront of their children’s education. Motivating kids to do their schoolwork, helping when they need extra help with a tricky task, waking them up to online class when they slept through the alarm, and teaching time management are just a few of the ways parents can do it take responsibility for their children’s success in online learning. To support parents, Las Cruces public schools are launching a series of conversation cafes. Conversation cafes provide an opportunity for parents and carers to provide and receive support related to the challenges of distance learning.
Before the necessary implementation of the pandemic-triggered distance learning, schools began teaching so-called soft skills to help students find intrinsic motivation, delay satisfaction, and develop a sense of empathy and social responsibility. Certainly, the need to develop these types of non-academic skills has continued to increase since the global pandemic changed the daily lives and routines of children around the world. In classrooms, the teaching of these skills has taken the form of social emotional learning. Social emotional learning encompasses skills such as self-management, responsible decision-making, relationship skills, social awareness and self-awareness. Learning and growing in these five areas are essential to children’s ability to navigate school, work and home throughout their lives.
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While social emotional learning continues to be taught online, it is also a tremendous benefit when parents know how to help their children develop positive emotional habits at home. While students are studying from home, their guardians are often on the receiving end of their struggles and frustrations. Parents and caregivers may find themselves faced with a child’s apathy towards distance learning, or just as often faced with perfectionism that could potentially be heightened in a remote setting without calming teachers present. By learning and practicing SEL skills, parents can support their children’s socio-emotional skills. With this in mind, LCPS has created a space where parents can come together and discuss SEL issues and how SEL can be taught and used at home.
Parents who want to learn more about how to help their child develop positive emotional habits can sign up for one or more conversation cafés. During these remote meetings, parents have the opportunity to learn about areas of social-emotional competence, to exchange ideas with other parents and to ask questions for further support. Trisha DiFazio of Teacher Created Materials, a leading expert in social emotional learning, will moderate this series of five sessions. DiFazio is a dedicated and knowledgeable facilitator who has traveled across the country helping students improve their socio-emotional experiences in school.
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Conversation cafés run from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and are available in English on December 15, January 21, February 18, March 18 and April 15. They will be available in Spanish on January 6th and February 17th. March 17th, March 31st and May 5th. Parents and guardians of LCPS students can register for one or more sessions. Different content is covered every month. Registration is limited and can be done at the following URL: https://bit.ly/LCPSConversationCafes.
Please direct questions or comments to Amy Himelright, Director of Mental Health and Academic Counseling, at [email protected] or 575-527-6028.
Amy Himelright is the director of mental health and academic counseling at Las Cruces public schools