Tag: Social Skills

Holiday Workshops: We’re ready!

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Posted on by Emily Wright

The holidays are nearly upon us and that’s great fun!

We offer group workshops designed to help children make and manage friendships, communicate better, overcome anxiety and perform at their best.

Our workshops have been creatively developed by Dr. Kimberley O’Brien and the Quirky Kid team over 16 years in the Child and Family field. We strive for innovation (winning local and international awards in Innovation) to make sure our programs are inspiring, practical and effective for small groups in the clinic setting or demonstrative for large audiences in an auditorium. Quirky Kid workshops draw on our micro-skills in working with children combined with current research and practices in Australia, the USA and UK.

The Best of Friends

The Best of Friends® program gives children the knowledge, skills and confidence to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, show empathy for others, develop and maintain friendships and make good decisions.

Why Worry?

The Why Worry workshop helps anxious children aged 5 to 13 years to manage their own symptoms of stress and worry at home & school. Participants learn to identify personal triggers for anxiety and practice coping strategies to reduce any impact on the individual or family. By exploring solutions through play-based activities, participants learn to understand and appreciate anxiety in a fun, non-threatening setting.

  • Register for Why Worry? workshop this school holidays!

 Power Up!

This program is designed for children and young people aged 10 to 15 years who are (or want to be) involved in sports, music, performance or academics in a competitive way. Power Up! gives children the power to build self-confidence; cope with the pressures of competition; overcome self-doubt and negative self-talk; set goals and make plans to achieve them; maximise performance in any chosen field.

  • Find a Power Up! workshop near you this school holidays!

How to Register

Sessions for all of these workshops are available in our Sydney and Wollongong clinics. Places are limited so get in quick!

Stay in the loop! Join our mailing list to be notified of the dates of the upcoming workshops.

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Gifted Children and their Social and Emotional Difficulties

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Posted on by Michal Fisher (Quirky Kid Staff)

Understanding the peer relationships of academically gifted students continues to be a concern of both researchers and practitioners in the field of gifted education. On one hand, the literature suggests that in most situations, being intellectually gifted is generally an asset socially and emotionally (Robinson, 2008) and gifted students tend to be well-received by peers (Neihart, 2007). On the other hand, some evidence reveals that many gifted students express that they do not “fit the mold” and “feel different”, and this sense of difference may, in turn, lead to general feelings of unease or lack of competence in social situations and difficulties creating and maintaining relationships with other people, including peers of the same age (Gross, 2015).

Common social and emotional experiences for gifted children can reflect:

  1. differences in their abilities compared to same-age peers
  2. tendencies toward introversion and perceived issues with social acceptance
  3. conflicts or anxieties associated with their inner experiences of giftedness
  4. a critical and self-critical nature, often resulting in perfectionism or low self-worth

It is clear that there is no single manner in which a child can be gifted. Emotional and social difficulties vary, also, from one gifted child to another. These difficulties have their roots in asynchronous development. Gifted children have emotional, physical, and intellectual development that are not equal; not in ‘sync’ according to Miraca Gross, director of GERRIC (Gross, 2001).

Academically gifted children have an intellect above their emotional and physical age-level. An intellectually gifted 5-year-old may have the intellect similar to that of an 8-year-old, emotional development similar to a 3-year-old, and physical development on par with a 6-year-old. The higher the intellect, the more out-of-sync with emotional and physical development they may be.

A gifted child understands concepts that he is not able to deal with emotionally. Death, the future, or world hunger may become overwhelming concerns. Situations like this can create frustration and distress.

What can you do to support your gifted child emotionally ?

  • You can support your child to:
    • Make time for friends.
    • Be open to new friendships.
    • Practise being a good host.
    • Practise friendship skills by role-playing situations.
    • Be a good listener, use eye contact to show interest and caring for others.
    • Avoid bragging, while still being sincere about their own abilities.
    • Participate in a variety of group activities, to create different friendship opportunities.
    • Accept those who think and act differently from you.
    • Enroll in a Comprehensive Social and Emotional Learning Program
  • Spending time with like-minded peers can provide your child with opportunities for engaging with those who think and learn in similar ways. They can share their values and interests, and challenge one another. This is likely to result in improved chances of being understood, with better prospects of forming stable and supportive friendships, and the comfort of feeling accepted.
  • Remember your child’s emotional needs may be at a different age-level to their intellectual ability. Recognise your child’s chronological age and comfort them according to their needs. A 6-year-old with the maths skills of a 10-year-old will still likely require the emotional support appropriate for a 6-year-old.

Some of the issues described throughout this article may be addressed by providing appropriate educational and counselling interventions.  For example, The Best of Friends program has been carefully designed to meet the social and emotional needs of gifted students. You can find our more about the program by visiting http://bof.quirkykid.com.au or https://childpsychologist.com.au/workshops/

For more information about how to support the social and emotional needs of your child, contact us with any questions.

References

Adams-Byers, J., Squiller Whitsell, S., & Moon, S. (2004). Gifted students’ perceptions of the academic and social/emotional effects of homogeneous and heterogeneous grouping. Gifted Child Quarterly, 48(1), 7–20

Gross, M. U. M., (2001) From “play partner” to “sure shelter”: What do gifted children seek from friendship? GERRIC News, 4-5

Gross, M. U. (2015). Characteristics of Able Gifted Highly Gifted Exceptionally Gifted and Profoundly Gifted Learners. In Applied Practice for Educators of Gifted and Able Learners (pp. 3-23). SensePublishers.

Neihart, M. (2007). The Socioaffective Impact of Acceleration and Ability Grouping Recommendations for Best Practice. Gifted Child Quarterly, 51(4), 330-341.

Robinson, N. M. (2008). The social world of gifted children and youth. In Handbook of giftedness in children (pp. 33-51). Springer US.

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Curb Bullying with these Social and Emotional Learning Skills

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Bullying in schools has become a nationwide concern, with many anti-bullying practices being implemented in every state. Social and emotional learning  (SEL) can provide an effective foundation for reducing bullying in schools. Practicing SEL skills will create a school environment that fosters positive interactions. Here are four characteristics of SEL, that aim to curb bullying in schools:

1. Open, supportive relationships between students and teachers.

Open communication between students and teachers presents an opportunity for students to learn positive conflict resolution techniques. These techniques allow students to resolve problems before they escalate into fully fledged bullying.

2. Solid communication between schools and families. 

Families need to be involved with their child’s school. When a parent is actively engaged in what happens to their child at school on a daily basis, they can help teach positive behaviour and reinforce messages from the teachers. Working as a team with the child’s school, ensures that the same positive messages are being taught on a variety of levels and in a variety of environments.

3. Emphasis on respect and tolerance. 

SEL requires school policies that highlight respect for peers, acceptance and appreciation of everyone’s differences. A school community in which students understand and embrace differences is a place where positive behaviour will thrive.

4. Teaching skills that allow kids to recognise and handle emotions, and engage in caring peer relationships. 

In addition to school policies requiring respect and tolerance, students must be taught how to engage in positive social interactions and develop caring peer relationships with one another. Teaching students how to express and handle emotions positively will support responsible decision-making and avoid negative scenarios that could escalate into bullying.

SEL skills arm students with the ability to handle their emotions in a positive way that results in enhanced social problem solving, supportive attitudes toward others, and overall academic success. Social and emotional learning provides students with many benefits that enhance the school community as a whole, creating a caring and nurturing environment in which bullying has no place.

Quirky Kid has also recently published a comprehensive SEL program called The Best of Friends. Find out more about it online. Equip your child with some of our therapeutic resources such as the Quirky Kid ‘Face It’ cards, which are designed to increase emotional awareness. Most importantly, please feel free to contact us to learn more about the benefits of social and emotional learning.

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BoF @ Holy Spirit Catholic School, QLD

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Posted on by Michal Fisher (Quirky Kid Staff)

We are proud to announce that the Holy Spirit Catholic School in Cranbrook, QLD has just confirmed they will be implementing ‘The Best of Friends’™ program during 2016.

Their enrolment continues to establish our Social and Emotional program as the most effective classroom intervention to foster children’s social and emotional wellbeing. We continue to work incredibly hard to produce innovative programs and resources that are tried, tested and loved in classrooms, clinics and lounge rooms around the globe.

About Holy Spirit Catholic School

Holy Spirit Catholic School is a place where children learn and find strength in spirit. As a Catholic co-educational primary school located in Cranbrook, Holy Spirit is one of Townsville’s oldest and now largest Catholic schools with more than 770 students from Prep – Year 6. The dedicated staff continuously strive for educational excellence based in the Catholic tradition, underpinned by the school’s motto ‘Strength in the Spirit’.

Holy Spirit Catholic School has been a generous faith-filled community for more than forty years and today has a reputation across North Queensland of spiritual, academic, cultural, sporting and community leadership. The school is respected for its service to the wider community and eco-friendly sustainable living achievements. Holy Spirit School is a place where children learn and find strength in spirit.

Social and Emotional Learning

Equally with their commitment to spiritual, academic, cultural, sporting and community prowess, Holy Spirit Catholic School has demonstrated clear commitment to the Social and Emotional Learning of their students. Holy Spirit Catholic School enables young boys and girls to develop as individuals, identify their strengths and realise their potential.

About The Best of Friends and the School.

The implementation of The Best of Friends™ will take place progressively and will be closely supported by the program author and our Educational Developmental Psychologist, Dr. Kimberley O’Brien.

Participants will receive a copy of the exclusive workbook developed by Quirky Kid. Facilitators and teachers will have access to a series of manuals and regular supervision as and when required.

The Best of Friends is a Social and Emotional Learning program developed by The Quirky Kid Clinic. Find our more.

Interested in offering ‘The Best of Friends™’ program at your school?

Currently, the program is available to a limited number of schools and organisations. The BoF program has a comprehensive implementation, evaluation and monitoring plan and we are keen to identify partners committed to SEL implementation and evaluation.

Schools can choose from a target (small group) or universal (classroom) format. We will provide all the implementation assistance required, including training, supervision and support for key staff members.

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‘The Best of Friends’™ Program launched in Schools and Clinics

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Posted on by Leonardo Rocker (Quirky Kid Staff)

Leading Australian child psychologist Dr Kimberley O’Brien and the team at Quirky Kid Clinic have launched a social emotional learning (SEL) program for use in schools and clinics.

The Best of Friends’™ program was developed in response to increasing demand at schools and the Quirky Kid Clinics to address social and emotional challenges that children experience.

This manualised program has been running since October last year at the Quirky Kid Clinics and is soon to be rolled out at St Catherine’s School in Sydney. It is an innovative resource that helps children to gain the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, show empathy for others, develop and maintain friendships and make good decisions.

Dr O’Brien said SEL opportunities in school settings significantly increase student outcomes both academically and in life.

‘The Best of Friends’™ program engages children with stories, illustrations and interactive activities to help children overcome social and emotional issues in a peer group setting,” said Dr O’Brien.

The program draws on decades of clinical and school experience and extensive research and is presented in a concise format to facilitate SEL for children aged 7 to 11 years.

Publisher of ‘The Best of Friends’™ and co-founder of the Quirky Kid Clinic, Leonardo Rocker said the program integrates with the Australian Curriculum and was shortlisted for the Educational Publishing Awards Australia 2015 and received a special commendation.

The Quirky Kid Clinic has been offering workshops throughout Australia for over 8 years.

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