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Counselor's Corner

Welcome to Counselor’s Corner with Julie Browne where...

  • Support is not cancelled
  • Education is not cancelled 
  • Social emotional learning has not stopped 
  • Laughter will continue 
  • Joy will persist 

With the most recent news of not returning to campus for this school year we are all, of course, feeling BIG emotions.  

It is not our job to change our children's feelings but rather to feel them together and to validate them. Now is a good time to talk to your children about what is NOT in our control and what IS in our control.  While we can not control the environmental rules and this virus, what can we learn and what can we do during this time that IS in our control?  Spread positivity, call a friend, mail a letter, lean into music, art, gardening... maybe find a simpler form of enjoyment and ways to spread joy.  Or perhaps just relax together.  Get fresh air and slow down.   

As we continue settling into our new norm here are some daily positive acts that are simple, easy and fun to do as a family.  

Weekly SEL Activities to Warm Your Hearts and Your Homes

Optional Opportunities for all ages

We are all experiencing how this pandemic has immensely altered our daily lives into something unrecognizable.  As we lean on each other and prioritize what is most important, we are coming to the realization that nothing matters more than our health and emotional well-being.  With that being said, protect your joy.  Whatever this looks like in your homes, revel in the moments of laughter, happiness and joy.  Do not underestimate the importance of moving your body, laughing every single day and reaching out to your Derby Family. 

Together We Are Better.  Together We Are Stronger.  Derby Cares.

Monday: Ask yourself, What do you want to remember from this time?  How do you want to be remembered from quarantine?

Tuesday: Self-compassion practice:
Think of a moment that is staying with you.  Maybe you snapped at your children or your parents or your sibling.  Maybe you threw down your pencil in frustration today.  Offer yourself forgiveness.  Say it aloud.  Be gentle with yourself and forgive yourself. 


Watch the Recordings:

  • Quick Stretch with Carla No. 1 - Hands: Here
  • Quick Stretch with Carla No. 2 - Neck & Shoulders: Here
  • Quick Stretch with Carla No. 3 - Hips & Lower Back: Here

Thursday: Write and leave a happy note for your mail person
Friday: Freeze Dance with your family!

Counselor Availability

I will be providing SEL lessons via video and you can also find them on this page. I am available to talk with parents for collaboration regarding the transition to at-home learning, anxiety and various concerns.  I am also able to check-in with individual students.  Please email me at so we can schedule a time.  I am at-home with my children but I will get back to you within 24 hours.  

Service Projects 

Engage your students or children at home with meaningful projects by following Learning to Give’s Simple Safe Service guides! 

Simple Safe Service, Learning to Give

Ideas How to Structure these Unstructured Days

Who: Grown-ups and children should create their Family Schedule together.  This allows us the opportunity to utilize Executive Functioning Skills and feel like we all have some control over the day.  
Create a name for your “home-school.”
When: Monday - Friday 
Where: Kitchen; Office... decide the optimal working space with your children.  This may change per activity.
Remember: It is most effective to implement a routine while being flexible and mindful of the needs of your family.  Tips:  Avoid triggers like hunger and sleepiness

What to Consider:

  • Morning routine: Get dressed and eat breakfast
  • Bedtime Routine
  • Snack and meal times
  • Academics:
  • Reading
  • Math 
  • On-line educational games
  • Breaks
  • Outside time - Nature walk, bike ride, sports in the yard
  • Move your body - Ms. Brooks; GoNoodle
  • Self-directed time/hands-on activities - legos, puzzles, free play, dolls, art & crafts
  • High Interests Activities - science experiments, art
  • Music
  • Freeze Dance
  • Puzzle Palooza - set out a bunch of puzzles and do them all together around the house
  • Board Games - display them all and each person gets a turn picking
  • Treasure hunt
  • Chores/Jobs: Clean out garage; attic

Executive Functioning

In my second week of home-schooling my own children I have found the built-in opportunity to help develop Executive Functioning (EF) Skills. We are naturally working on them without even knowing it!  EF skills include creating a schedule, goal setting, time management, prioritizing, note-taking, studying etc...  You can have your child check-off items on the daily schedule once complete.  Without rushing around to get out the door or run to the next scheduled activity here is time in our new situation to ask your child to clean up after each meal, turn off the lights after leaving each room, help with the chores around the house, clean out and organize a closet or room.  Ask your child to summarize what they learned or share their notes with you.   You can also play problem solving games (heads up, guess who). 

For MS and US learners, please click here for Time Management Tips for On-line Learning

Derby Academy, Julie Brown

Tips for Working with Children at Home

Emotions are running high! No matter the age of your children, and even for us adults, this is an uncertain time and the range of anxiety and behaviors can be overwhelming. Whether your child is extra clingy, teary, moody or handling things in stride, here are some suggestions on how to handle these circumstances:

Create a “Kind Jar” or “Bucket” for all of your children. In Open Circle last year and this year we have discussed "How to Become a Bucket Filler" and doing acts of kindness. Each act of kindness, spreading of happiness, or completing a task with having to be asked 1 time can earn a marble or rock in their jar.  Watch it grow and have them earn something once it’s full (a celebration, favorite dessert, small toy/trinket). You will also read more about what else we’ve done in Open Circle in the SEL section.

Do not meet resistance with resistance.  If your child is having a temper tantrum, resisting it or arguing with them will not stop the tantrum or relieve it.  Your child is unable to process with you until the tantrum is over and the emotions have calmed down. Try having a “tantrum” with them. This will likely stop them in their tracks and may even make them laugh therefore ending the tantrum. (Dr. Shefali is an amazing resource for more help on this matter)

We often try to, or want to, change a behavior we are seeing our children exhibit.  Do not try to change the behavior. Instead get to what is underneath the behavior.  Is she scared? Is he anxious?  Frustrated?  Once your child can identify their emotion behind the behavior, progress has already been made.

Empathy.  Provide pure empathy. “I see and hear you are very frustrated/sad/angry/scared right now.” This is unfair. Kids feel ripped off.  Of course they do! (Please visit for additional, helpful information)

Identify what is in your/their control.  “You seem to have a lot of questions and concerns about the Coronavirus. What can we do for our part?"(wash hands, not go out, check on neighbors and family members via phone, spread kindness and positivity…)

Create a plan and problem solve together. “I know you are frustrated about home-school.  It is still important to learn, so what can we come-up with together? Would you like to Facetime someone from school? Let’s incorporate more (downtime, science time) tomorrow.”   Or perhaps, “I see how difficult this is being away from your friends. Scientists and the government are giving us information that we need to respect and try to understand. What can we do during this time to make things more fun? What is it you miss the most so we can make plans in the future to definitely make this happen?”

Outside time, break breaks and mindfulness activities are even more important now than ever!  Go on a nature walk, swing in the backyard, utilize breathing tools, exercise and get off screens when you can! 

Resources and On-line Story Books About How to Talk to Children about COVID-19

As we continue to talk with our children surrounding COVID-19:

  • Be factual and correct misinformation
  • Model calm and compassion
  • Do not dismiss their concerns
  • Focus on what we can do to keep ourselves healthy; hand washing, social distancing
  • Be mindful of creating social connection through social media and phone calls


Online  Resources


Resources Regarding Anxiety   

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) activities

Derby Academy, Hingham, distance learning

While the world is turned on its head, we have the opportunity to leverage the power of emotional intelligence to keep our feet on the ground and our minds directed toward building the future that we want for our students and ourselves. We can’t control what has happened, but we can control how we respond to what is happening. Give yourself and everyone around you the permission to feel all emotions. It starts and ends with self- and social-compassion. Lean into SEL.

Christina Cipriano, Ph.D., Ed.M., Marc Brackett, Ph.D.

Occupational Therapy (OT) Support

Emotional regulation, fine motor & gross motor ideas & games:

We may find our children struggling with emotional regulation and are likely in need of sensory support.  The world of OT also supports fine and gross motor skills.  Please review these fun tools as possible options:

In addition to these resources, children respond well to:
  • Laying or swinging on their bellies
  • Outside breaks before sitting to work
  • Practicing tying shoes, buttoning and zipping 
  • Writing with a clipboard
  • Using different writing tool options (gel pens, markers, crayons, pencils, short golf pencils, pencil grips, chalk, white board, etc…)
  • “Heavy” lifting; moving books around, helping you carry things
  • Marching to a beat
  • *Hugs*
  • Stretching and yoga poses before sleep
  • Use kid friendly tweezers to pick up small objects
  • Use clothespins to clip onto the side of a cup