ASA believes in attending to the whole child, and so in addition to a focus on learning around academic subjects, the Arts, Innovation, Diversity and Inclusion, Physical Education and Athletics, we also consider it vital to guide our students through their socio-emotional development. We strive to have a specific focus on the skills of resilience from adversity, effective interpersonal communication and conflict resolution. This comes from the perspective that they are skills that will help them to function to their highest potential in their personal, social and academic lives.The rationale supporting the need for guidance is based on facts associated with neurological development. From childhood through adolescence, this development is at a stage in which the pre-frontal cortex, that helps us to organize information, plan and formulate strategies, solve problems and make decisions, is still developing.
It is known that even the most highly competent individual can lack focus and the ability to function in a healthy manner, due to feeling consumed with personal turmoil. The application of coping skills is usually what helps us to remain functional, despite challenges. It is therefore essential to guide our youth in identifying and applying these skills, and gaining an understanding the importance of leading balanced lives that attend to the health of all aspects of themselves.
Learning opportunities regarding socio-emotional skills are created with the aim of preventing life challenges before they occur or become a crisis. Our faculty Advisors, school leaders, the school counselor and guest speakers, use forums such as Advisory and Assemblies for the instruction of these skills. Topics addressed are designed according to demonstrated need and include standard useful areas of focus such as:
Goals and values
Cooperation and Team Building
Communication and Social Skills
Study Skills and Time Management
Conflict resolution/Problem Solving/Decision making
Diversity and Inclusion
Alcohol and Substance Use prevention
Puberty, Hygiene, Reproductive Health, Intimacy safety
Transitioning - Lower to Middle School, Middle to High School, High School to College
Short term individual and Group Counseling services are also available for our students. Students seen by our Counselor do so by self-referral as well as referrals from faculty, Administration and parents, however, generally, all are welcome. The Counseling approach used tends to be eclectic, knowing that each student is unique and may respond to a variety of modalities. However, cognitive-behavioral methods tend to be most useful, as students develop an understanding that our thoughts influence behavior and emotions. Therefore, learning to restructure thoughts from destructive to constructive can be, among other practices, a magical key to survival and happiness.
Peer Helping is also seen as another vital resource for socio-emotional well being at ASA. It is known that in the world of children and adolescents, peer influence is powerful, and statistics show that our youth are more likely to be inspired by their peers in ways that are more lasting and profound. With that said, student leaders identified and interested in helping their peers are trained in basic counseling, communication and conflict resolution skills by the School Counselor, and are available on an as needed basis to support their peers.
Useful Resources For Parents:
Mindset, Carol Dweck - developing the growth mindset encouraged in today’s world
The Mindful Child, Susan Greenland- helping your child “manage stress, become happier kinder and more compassionate”
ScreamFree Parenting: Raising your Kids by Keeping your Cool, Hal Runkel
Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy, Emily Bazelon
How to keep your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do if you Can’t; Dr. Neil Bernstein
May I Kiss you? A candid look at Dating, Communication, Respect and Sexual Assault Awareness; Michael J. Domitz
Girls will be Girls: Raising Confident and Courageous Daughters; JoAnn Deak, Ph.D.
Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys, Dan Kindlon, Ph.D., Michael Thompson, Ph.D.
Counselor’s contact information: Mark Miner
Phone number: 863-293-5980
Office location: Hampton campus, BLC 203