The Guidance Program at CHMS is an integral part of the curriculum for all children. Students are scheduled for guidance groups throughout the year, which enables us to get to know all of the children and be in continual contact with them. Our groups are small (10-12 students), fostering a supportive environment for students to discuss the issues and concerns they face as they make the transition from childhood to teenagers. Group members are encouraged to share their ideas, feelings and experiences, listen to one another, and respect others’ points of view. Conversations with peers and ourselves about issues of personal interest are welcome in our groups. These discussions may include topics such as: making friends; effective communication skills; healthy relationships; self esteem; decision making; conflict resolution strategies; coping with stress; sexual harassment; and media influence. Our goal is to assist these young people in better understanding themselves and their environment.
Middle School Development
The social emotional development of our early adolescents is perhaps the most trying of times for both parents and children. As they enter middle school, the academic demands increase at a time when their primary focus is their social life. Friends are at the top of their priority list. Hence, friendship problems can interfere with their school work, their outside activities, and their sense of health and well-being. A conflict with peers can consume a student’s energy so that focus on academics becomes difficult at best and may lead to stress-related illnesses. Our school nurse attends to numerous headaches and stomach aches on a routine basis. In order to prevent these very normal adolescent issues from interfering with students’ lives, each individual needs a network of adult support. The primary role of the adults is to look and listen for cues that a child is experiencing some difficulty. If a child indicates that they are having a bad day, do use active listening skills and open-ended questions to draw them out. Parents, school personnel, extended family and friends are all important players in guiding our middle school students through early adolescence.
The guidance office does have resources available to assist you in parenting your ever-changing middle school child! Please visit us and peruse our bookshelf. Gail A. Caissy’s book Early Adolescence: Understanding the 10 – 15 Year Old is a great overview of the middle school years that covers development, behavior and parenting. Other titles include: Promise You Won’t Freak Out by Doris A. Fuller and Natalie Fuller, with Greg Fuller; Yes, Your Teen is Crazy! By Michael J. Bradlely, Ed.D.; and Reviving Ophelia by Mary Phiper, PH.D. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s development, please feel welcome to call any of the school counselors.
HospiceNet - Information and strategies to help teenagers cope with death.
KidsHealth - Health information for parents, kids, teens and educators
Kids Health - Grief and Loss - For teens - information and resources when dealing with grief and loss.
Netsmartz Workshop - Information about using the internet and other electronics safely and appropriately.
Psychology Today - Find a therapist. This is a tool to help you locate a therapist in your area and who fits certain criteria that may be important to you.
Stop It Now - Information about preventing child sexual abuse
UMatter - Vermont Youth Suicide Prevention - Information and resources for youth, schools and families about suicide.
Families Change - a Guide to Separation and Divorce - Age-appropriate information for kids, teens and parents who are dealing with a family breakup.