Lunch Bunches and Small Groups
A favorite counseling activity for counselors as well as students in grades1-5 lunch bunches. School counselors meet during lunch with rotating groups of students from each class for 4 to 6 weeks, and then a new group is selected. Everyone gets a turn!
When in lunch bunch, students bring their lunches to the school counselor's room. We practice polite manners and conversations. The students are invited to share something that makes them happy, excited, loved and/or something that is bothering them or makes them sad, angry, or frustrated. We work on feeling words vocabulary and then, as in Responsive Classroom morning meeting, open the floor for questions or comments. We are learning to listen silently, share the stage, and offer support to our friends. If a teacher has given us information that the students have an issue to discuss, we might read a book or tell a story and discuss it. After we finish eating, we often have time for a quick game or cooperative activity. If parents and guardians have come into school to eat with their child, they are invited to join us.
We often receive requests from parents, guardians, and staff members to form a small discussion group to support students experiencing personal difficulties. Throughout the year, groups can be formed to help children coping with divorce and other family changes, loss through death, illness of a family member, as well as children needing small group instruction in anger management, self-regulation or other social skills. We try to find a balance in groups dynamics with teacher and parent input, which includes peer models as well as those referred for specific concerns.
Because we are constantly forming groups and all students participate in groups in the school counselor's office, we find that children love group time and don't feel stigmatized or singled out. In fact, the biggest concern we hear is "When is it my turn?"
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