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Social Emotional Wellness (SEW) Newsletter

January 2017

Hi!I am Elisa Mendels, the Social Emotional Wellness (SEW) facilitator at the Cooke School.

As noted in my last newsletter, I visit every classroom at the Cooke School on a regular basis (every 5 school days) to educate our students on issues and topics related to social emotional wellness. The classroom teachers are involved in the lessons, in order to provide follow up with our students.

As the families of our children, I would like to share with you what we have been doing during the months of November, December and to this date in January.

We continue to incorporate yoga and/or mindfulness activities into mostly every class. This is to both get the children moving, as well as to practice breathing as a way to calm and relax their bodies. Ask your child to show you some of the yoga poses they’ve been practicing! The mindfulness practices help children learn to focus and concentrate.

In November, we completed our unit on feelings. We took a close look at the feeling of anger, and the students learned techniques to deal with anger. Stopping, taking a deep breath, and naming the problem and how you feel are at the center of being able to control anger. Our older children made lists of different ways to deal with anger and calm down.

We then completed lessons on the feeling of thankfulness. We reflected on what we are thankful for, and all students in grades 3-5 wrote letters of thanks to adults in the Cooke School Community. This activity had a positive impact on both the writers and the receivers of the letters.

During the month of December, our main focus was on the topics of empathy and compassion. The students were taught that empathy is trying to “put yourself in someone else’s shoes” and try to understand how they are feeling. Being able to show empathy toward others is at the very core of combatting bullying.

The best way to build self-esteem is to do for others. In our SEW classes, we are currently in the middle of a community service project around the topic of compassion. K and 1st grade students are making cheerful pictures to donate to the elderly who participate in the “Meals on Wheels” program. 2nd and 3rd grade students are making “get well” and “thinking of you” cards for patients at Catskill Regional Medical Center, and 4th and 5th graders are making cards to donate to the nursing home patients at the Sullivan County Adult Care Facility. A couple of students from each class will be chosen to deliver these projects in the coming weeks.

Our Kindergarten and 1st grade classes are learning the difference between "tattling" and "telling." We note that tattling is when you try to get someone "in" trouble, and telling is helping to get someone "out of" trouble (eg: if someone is hurt or doing something dangerous).

Our peer mediation program is also well underway. Mrs. Kelly Mitchell and I are the organizers of this program, and have set up several mediations so far, in which students help other students to solve conflicts. It has proven to be a very successful program that is available to any student in grades 2-5.

Our next SEW newsletter will be coming out in March. As always, if you ever have any questions or want more information, I'd love to hear from you. Feel free to call me at 845-794-8830 x 40120 or email me at

Elisa Mendels
Social Emotional Wellness Facilitator
School Social Worker
G.L. Cooke Elementary School