North Merrick Schools, in partnership with the North Merrick Mental Health and Wellness Coalition, hosted a virtual Parent University on May 14. The guest speaker was Denise Daniels, author of First Aid for Feelings: A Workbook to Help Kids Cope During the Coronavirus Pandemic, sponsored by the Yale Child Study Center and Scholastic Collaborative.
Ms. Daniels walked parents and teachers through the workbook, page by page, so families and classes can have a meaningful and productive conversation surrounding this unprecedented crisis. She stressed that children need concrete information. "Children take cues from adults. Kids are really intuitive and perceptive,' she noted.
Ms. Daniels said it is also important to let children tell their own stories through words and pictures. She also suggested creating a calming corner, a cozy place where children can find time to work out their feelings and feel more comfortable. She asked the adults to find the silver linings in managing through this difficult time, such as empowering children and helping them build resiliency. In addition, Ms. Daniels cautioned that the students need closure with the end of the school year, and she was delighted to hear about the virtual class breakfasts and other events being planned in North Merrick. Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Cynthia Seniuk, agreed, saying, "We will end on a high note, a happy note and we will continue this in September."