Counsellor's Corner

December - Holiday Stress

As the holiday season approaches it can bring up so many emotions. While it is often associated with wonderful feelings, holidays can be a difficult time for some. With the added uncertainty in our world right now, this can bring on some feelings of stress and anxiety. 

We hope that our families can take some time to enjoy this special time, take some time to relax, enjoy each other and let those little things go. 


Here are some fun ideas:

-Get outside and play! Play is great for everyone, even adults! It can help relieve stress, improve brain function, increase your energy and improve your connection with others. 

-Think about what you are grateful for. That can be hard sometimes.  Make a gratitude journal, or just talk about it with your family every day. What are you grateful for each day? Here are some questions you could ask every day: What is your favourite holiday memory? What is your favourite holiday food? What brings you comfort and joy during Christmas? What is something beautiful that you saw today? What holiday song do you love most? The list could go on… 

-Play some of your favourite games together. We love board games in our house! 

-Take some time to read, together or alone. There are so many benefits to reading!

-If you can, help someone or a family in need! Donate, volunteer. It feels great to help someone who appreciates it.

I hope that all of our Wes Hosford families can take some time to reflect on your blessings, relax and enjoy some time together this month! 

Holiday Help:

A Safe Place (24Hr) -780-464-7233

Family and Community Services -780-464-4044

Victim Services - 780-449-0153

November - Bullying

Bullying is defined as a repeated aggressive behaviour where one person or group deliberately intimidates or hurts another physically or emotionally. Acts of bullying can be physical, verbal or cyber. 

This month, we will help our students to have a better understanding of bullying as we “Make a Noise About Bullying,” have important conversations and teach students what they can during Bullying awareness week, November 13-17. Throughout the week, students will participate in a variety of activities to promote kindness and help us understand bullying in order to prevent it. 

On November 17, we will wear mismatched socks to celebrate and be proud of our differences for Odd Sock Day. 

Of course, these conversations have to extend beyond the school. Ask your child what they are learning at school about bullying.  Look for books that you can read together.  Let your kids know that they can always talk to you no matter what, and approach you if they have a problem. 

Here are some resources that are helpful to understand and talk to your child about bullying.


If you have further questions or concerns, please reach out! 


Strathcona County has some great community resources available to us. Please check them out!  They also have many free courses available all season long for a variety of interests and ages. Click here to see what is being offered! 

Counselling, free parenting courses, mental health building and more are just some of the resources available to us. 

You can call 780-464-4044 or visit


Well-being and mental health | Strathcona County

Our goal is to help build a supported, safe and connected community that encourages the well-being of every single person.


Parent Sessions

If you missed any of our parent presentations or are looking for more information, please follow the links below to some websites and videos from the presentations. Thank you to the Saffron Centre, the Strathcona County Family Resource Network and our wonderful parents for joining these wonderful presentations.


Foundations of Connection: How to Communicate with Your Youth 

Presented by the Saffron Centre 

If you missed it, you can check it out online here!

Foundations of Connection Presentation

Cyberworld: What happens When Youth Press Send? 

Part 1 & Part 2 

*note that the content has been slightly updated for the parent presentation since the recording has been made.

No Such Thing as a Bad Kid: Understanding What’s Behind Children’s Behaviours 

Presented by Strathcona County Family Resource Network

Here are some videos from the presentation if you missed it!

What is Stress? - YouTube

Executive Function - YouTube

Zero to Thrive: Parenting with Balanced Caregiving - YouTube

Happy Healthy Little Ones Circle of Security Parenting Being With and Shark Music - YouTube


Kids Have Stress Too! Wes Hosford Elementary School Library

If you missed this presentation and would like to have the slides e-mailed to you, please contact me at 

Presented by Strathcona County Family Resource Network 

 Even the most nurturing home and school environment includes a range of stressors that can both challenge and motivate children. While stress is a necessary part of development and learning, it’s clear that Canadian families now face more stress than ever before.

With the help of a range of educators, psychologists and stress experts from across the country, we developed the Kids Have Stress Too! ®program. The program is designed to help the important people in children's lives learn to promote resiliency by buffering the impact of stress, and building positive coping strategies to deal with life’s stressors.

We will talk about how stress can lead to Anxiety and Depression along with many other challenges. We will also talk about resources for specific mental health diagnosis. We will also cover positive, tolerable, and toxic stress, how it impacts brain development, and specific tools for parents to practice with their children to manage and reduce stress in healthy ways.


 October - Digital Citizenship 

I’m sure we can all agree that technology has brought some positives and negatives into our lives.  While it can be a useful and helpful tool in so many ways, it has also been associated with the rise of anxiety and depression that we see today. I always like to think that I hope the people in my life always know they are more important than any screen in front of me and want to model proper technology use for them.  That being said, our devices seem to be the tools that we need to organize and live our daily lives and this will continue for our children too.  So, let’s teach and model digital citizenship, find a balance and enjoy the best of both worlds. 

Digital citizenship is important in the world we live in today.  We are amazed at what our youth can do with electronics and computers, see the growing use of technology daily, and unfortunately sometimes we see the disadvantages of that too.  Digital citizenship can help our students navigate technology and the digital world safely and responsibly so that these tools are used to help them learn and grow in a positive way.  It is so important to give our kids the tools they need to succeed to help them make responsible choices, treat themselves and others respectfully both on and offline.

As our children get older and want to navigate social media, there is a whole new world out there that sometimes can go unnoticed by parents. It is important to have conversations with your child about using technology responsibly. Decide on your rules and boundaries with social media with your child. Monitor their usage.  Modeling responsible technology and social media use is also important for parents too. For example, it is easy to get caught up in the digital world and feel like we as adults need to check our phones constantly. Model taking a break, put the phones away at dinner, have a conversation with your family. Kids notice when we are always on our phones too.  Have conversations about appropriate technology use and why it is important to use them responsibly.  This may include topics like cyberbullying, online safety and trustworthy people and sites, respecting privacy and more. This website below has many ideas on things that you can chat with your child about to keep them safe online. 

At school, we are doing our part to discuss responsible technology use.  We have some guest speakers coming in this month to talk about digital citizenship and online safety. Please ask your child about what they are learning and continue these discussions at home. We also had a recent parent presentation from the Saffron Centre and I will share the link below if you are interested in learning more. 

Of course, if you have any questions, please reach out! 

Enjoy your Thanksgiving long weekends with family and friends, get outside and find something to be grateful for!

Welcome Back - September

September - Welcome Back

My name is Christy Nichol. I hope that everyone has enjoyed a restful summer and is feeling refreshed and ready for a new year.  I hope you had time to connect with family and friends, enjoy some time together and make some special memories over the summer. If your child  finished the summer scavenger hunt, have them stop by and show me! I may have a prize for them! 

I am a busy mom of four and love spending time with kids.  I have been teaching a variety of classes from Grades 1-6 since 2007, with a few breaks in between to stay at home with my own babies. I have a passion for mental health and I am grateful to be back at Wes Hosford part time this year as a School Counsellor.  I will typically be at school Mondays all day and Tuesday and Thursday afternoons this year. This may change from time to time, so I’ll try to post a schedule outside of my office so students know when I am in the school.   You can reach me by emailing me at or by phoning the school when I am in. 

I hope to visit all our Wes Hosford classrooms in the first few weeks of September to see some familiar faces and meet new ones too. 

If you think your child may benefit from coming to see me, the following information may be helpful to share with them.

Q: Why would I see the counsellor?

A: A counsellor is an adult who acts as your advocate. An advocate is someone who wants to listen to what you have to say and helps you come up with solutions.  It does not mean I can solve the problems for you; it does mean that you have a safe place you can go to when you are not sure what to do.

Also, a counsellor can:

-make sure you’ve got all the right facts.

-help you express your needs and feelings.

-help you figure out what to do next.

-help you tap into your own strengths and resources.


Q:  What sorts of things can I talk to the counsellor about?

A:  You may want to talk to me if you have any academic, or personal concerns.  For example:

“I’m having trouble making friends.”

“I’m having a hard time paying attention in class.”

“My parents and I argue often.”


Q: How do I request to see the counsellor?

A: Let the office or your teacher know you need to see me and I will let your teacher know when you can come to my counselling office. Don't worry, no one else needs to know we are chatting! 


Q: Is what I say kept private?

A: All information shared is considered confidential or private unless we have been given permission by you to share the information or if the information interferes with one or more of three legal restrictions: the student is planning to harm themselves or someone else; someone is harming the student; a judge or FOIP request occurs and records are subpoenaed.

Enjoy these first few weeks of back! They can be full of excitement and many emotions! 

June - Welcome Summer!

Wow, where did the school year go? 

I have really enjoyed my second year as the Counsellor at Wes Hosford and loved getting to know all of our students, parents and building those connections. As I think about all my learning and growth over the past few years as a teacher, counsellor, and parent, one word that really resonates with me is connection. The power of connecting with a child in meaningful ways can be one of the most important things that you do for them. 

As we look forward to summer adventures, I hope that our families have time to rest, relax and connect with each other. I hope that your summers are full of sunshine, smiles, and adventure. 

Of course, I recommend that you also find time for daily reading over the summer. Take the time to read with them, and also model the importance of reading and spend some time reading a book yourself. The library and Strathcona County offer some great programs for children of all ages, you can check them out here:

Strathcona County Summer Programs

Strathcona County Library

If you are looking for more resources on connecting with your family, parenting or more, our county offers some great courses for parents and children! Family Resource Network Events

Are your children BORED?  Check out this summer bucket list and see how many things you can complete together! 

Enjoy this gift of time and summer with your children! Someone once told me, “you only get 18 summers as children, enjoy them!” 

Have a great summer and I’ll see you in September! 

-Mrs. Nichol 

** If you are needing support over the summer, our Family and Community Services Network is here to help. Please reach out if you need! If you are in a crisis situation, here is a list of numbers that may be helpful. If it is an emergency, call 911! 


Mental Health Week

Mental Health Week is coming up from May 1-7. We will wear our hats on Wednesday, May 3 to support Mental Health. What is Mental Health and why is it so important? The Canadian Mental Health Association defines Mental Health as "the state of our psychological and emotional well-being. It encompasses our emotions, feelings of connection, thoughts, and the ability to manage life's highs and lows.  Throughout our lives, we will all experience periods of positive and negative mental health." 

It is important to talk about mental health with our children.  Emotions are a huge part of our every day life and it is so important to help our children to understand and regulate their emotions. It's important to talk about our emotions, feel free to show emotions and respect others' emotions. We can help our children to develop healthy relationships, a strong sense of self and understand mental health. 

CMHA mental health week

Looking for books on a specific topic? These are great, and you can read and connect with your child too!

Above are some links that you might find useful to read about in support of Mental Health Week. Also, please check out our upcoming parents sessions!  The session on April 26 will focus on connection with our children and on May 17 will focus on helping support our children's emotions.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out!

ADHD resources

I often have parents asking about resources for students with ADHD.  This website is amazing and has so much information for parents!

There is an upcoming parent session that may be of interest to you. Please note that the picture says 6:30 pm but it will be at 7:30 MT. It is too far away to join in person, but here is the registration for the zoom meeting:

May 8, 7:30pm Welcome to Your Child's ADHD Brain with Aaron Bailey

Spring Update

Naturally, school becomes a place that puts emphasis on our academic achievements.  Assignments, projects,  tests, checking in, report cards, the list goes on and on. As parents we want to know how our child is doing academically, how they compare to other students their age, and what we can do to help them along.   Students are taught hard to try their best and work hard.  What does trying your best mean and how can you support your child at home? 

As a teacher and a mom of four young children, including twins, I truly see how every child learns differently. Even my twins learn differently, it is so amazing to watch! Of course, I have always known this in my own classroom, but as a parent it can be hard not to compare my own children at times. Let me tell you, they are all so very different.  Even as a teacher, my own children have really been the best reminder to me that children learn and grow differently, they all have something special about them, and sometimes it isn’t about the achievement.  As my children grow and talk about learning at home, these key points often come up:

  1. We all learn differently, and that is ok. What might be easy for one person to learn could be really difficult for someone else. What you find difficult might be easy for someone else. Everyone has something that they are good at!
  2. Just try your best and don’t give up. Some things are difficult. Some things take time. You’ll get there, you can do hard things, even if it takes some extra time!
  3. Be patient and kind to everyone. Help others when you can. Take time to connect with the people in your life. 

I find these conversations with my young children to be great reminders for myself at school too! 

Speaking of everyone being good at something, we also know that EQ (emotional intelligence quotient) is an important part of learning. In fact, EQ can be used to predict academic achievement, and children with a greater EQ appear to perform better academically.

Empathy is one of the most important aspects of EQ. Empathy has been described as an affective response to another person’s situation or as an awareness of the feelings of others. Children learn empathy at home, during sports, in the classroom, and anywhere social interaction occurs. It makes me wonder though, is it built in? Even my babies have shown empathy! Now twin toddlers, it’s adorable watching them notice each other's feelings and show empathy towards each other.  We need to keep modeling it for them though!  As a parent and a teacher, I love seeing empathy in kids!

Developing empathy in children can promote perspective taking, tolerance and compassion, but it can also make students better readers, writers, and communicators. Generally, the literature suggests that increasing empathy can provide students with the skills to improve communication and socialization and increase their academic success.

At Wes Hosford, we focus on doing the right thing even when no one is looking.  We’re teaching our students to feel good about themselves, to think about others, and to feel the intrinsic rewards that come along with the virtues we’ve been practicing. 

Our students are ready for successful learning. At home and school, we are a great team to keep building this together. 

Please reach out if you have any questions or need to chat! 

Christy Nichol

Mindfulness Club

Being mindful means being focused, aware and present in the moment. This can help us in many ways in and out of school.  Being mindful can help us  to stay focused and deal stress when it comes up in our lives. Being mindful lets us be aware of our bodies and our minds and also to be aware of others.  

Every Wednesday at lunch recess, students from all grades at Wes Hosford are welcome to come and join me at our Mindfulness Club. Students may come and go as they please, if students want to come one week and want to head outside the next week, that is ok too! I love to meet with this group and we have had such a great turnout with positive feedback.  We look forward to calm, mindful activities like listening to music, colouring, yoga, guided relaxation activities and more. We even had a special guest come to do an Indigenous Smudge with some students and would love to try this again!

Ask your child if they have tried out our Mindfulness Club!