Counsellor's Corner

Parent Sessions

We enjoyed two free parent presentations with our school communities.  If you missed them 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 and the Strathcona County Family Resource Network for helping with 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


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

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


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

February - Love Yourself!

We have been talking about self-esteem and self-confidence lately. With so many special days related in February; Black history month, Valentine’s Day, Random Acts of Kindness day, Family Day, Pink Shirt Day, they are all days to celebrate feeling good about yourself and making others feel great too!   Why is this important? Self-esteem is the way we think and feel about ourselves, self-confidence is our attitude about our abilities to do things.  Well, feeling good about yourself, having a positive view of yourself and the confidence to try new things can certainly make each day more enjoyable. It impacts the day to day life of kids and adults of all ages and helps them be resilient in difficult situations.  Self-esteem and confidence is going to impact daily decisions, relationships and really can shape our overall mental health and well-being. Sharing the love you have for yourself with others and treating others the way you want to be treated can make everyone feel a little better! 


How can we help children to develop self-esteem, self-confidence, and know that it is important to value and love things about themselves? Modeling these things is important! Children notice and see the adults around them. Be sure to talk and act in a positive way about yourself, be open to learning new things, remember that it is okay to make mistakes and to learn from them.  Help children to understand this. Compliment them. Help them see the good in themselves, especially when they might struggle to see it. Let them make mistakes, but also help them learn from them and try again. Give them responsibilities and keep them accountable. Let them be themselves. Give them choices. Tell them they are valued and loved for who they are.  We all like to hear that, right? 


Two of my favourite books to read with kids at this time of year are “Rock What Ya Got” by Samantha Berger, and “In My Heart, A Book of Feelings” by Jo Witek.  I love reading these books and talking about all the positives that kids see in themselves, as well as the feelings and emotions that they feel.  Reading can be a great way to connect and open some discussions with your child!  

Your kids are trying their hardest at school right now in a world that can seem challenging at times.   Remember, you are their safe place, and they are trying their best. Be there for them, listen to them, answer their questions, give them a break if they need it, take one with them - I bet they will love it. Try to stick to healthy routines and structure, they really can make a difference. Love yourself, and love them, find ways to bond together. 


If you or your child (children) are struggling at home, please reach out. We have so many (many free!) resources available in our community and some upcoming courses and classes that look fantastic, whether you need some extra advice or are just looking for a fun way to bond and have some fun! Check these out! 

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! 


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.


January - Back to Routines

Happy New Year! We are so happy to welcome students back to school this week! We hope that you had time to rest, enjoy time with family and friends and think about your hopes for the year ahead. 

We recognize that the holiday season can be stressful and look forward to a fresh start.  Getting back into a routine can be difficult but makes us hopeful for what is ahead. The first few days back this year will have a few of our students feeling tired, grumpy, or anxious. Others may feel excited, happy and eager to return. Adults and parents may feel the same.  All of these feelings are ok and normal. Getting back to routine is so important for kids, and people of all ages too! 

Mrs. Freheit has talked about routines and boundaries comparing kids to fish in a fish tank.  When you first put the fish in the water, they swim around frantically, bumping into the glass. Once they know the boundaries, however, they calm down, and rarely hit the glass ever again.  Boundaries can be hard at first, but we need them, and kids do well with them.  

Of course, kids are a little more complex than fish, and will continue to test those boundaries once in a while; some kids with more frequency than others. I’m sure you’ve heard it a thousand times, but one trick to reducing the frequency of the testing is consistency. The more consistent we are, the more secure our kids are in the boundaries, and the less often they’ll try inappropriate behavior.  This is one of the reasons January can feel so refreshing, getting back to routines and boundaries can be exactly what so many of us need, especially children!

We hope that whatever your new year might look like, what your goals and hopes may be, that you find some time to focus on you and your children right now. Find something to be happy about. Find something to be grateful for. Find something to motivate you and give you hope for the year ahead. 

We are here if you need us, have questions or concerns.  If you find you are needing extra supports at home, remember that our community has some great services to offer. Check down below for some more information and upcoming classes offered in the community!

Have a great January and 2023!


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, especially when we are still missing out on some things that feel normal for us. 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 tons of benefits to reading, you can read about them in November’s update. 

-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: for help with Debt

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

Family and Community Services -780-464-4044

Victim Services - 780-449-0153

November - Grit

What Is Grit?

Grit is the quality that enables individuals to work hard and stick to their long-term passions and goals. It involves working through challenges, and maintaining effort and interest despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress. Gritty people approach achievement as a marathon, with stamina the advantage. While disappointment and boredom may lead most people to give up, gritty people keep trying. Grit, then, can be thought of as a combination of character traits including self-discipline, resilience, perseverance, stamina, conscientiousness and self-control.

Why Is Grit Important?

Grit has been found to be a better predictor of success than Diploma Exam scores or IQ tests. There have been many studies that show the importance of self-discipline and resilience in achieving positive outcomes such as academic success, happiness, and overall contentment in life.

When children struggle with a task they may give up because they think they lack ability. It is important for students to understand that it is okay to feel confused when learning something new, and actually, it is expected. We can teach children that making mistakes or taking a long time to complete an assignment is a normal part of learning, not a sign of failure. We can teach them that having grit means that you choose to invest time and energy into a task. We teach them to be committed to the task and, over time, apply this learning to broader and broader life goals.

How Do I Encourage Grit In My Child?

  • Talk about the power of attitude and persistence (Give examples from your own life. Talk to them about how you were able to succeed in life and the road blocks and challenges you faced AND how you overcame them.)
  • Start with smaller problems and build / chunk their work into manageable bits (Ex. Start with clearing the table and work up to loading the dishwasher)
  • Praise effort and work ethic, etc. and use character trait language such as: You've been working on your homework for twenty minutes. You're becoming really persistent!" or "I see you've ignored your phone while you've been studying. That is awesome self-control!" And avoid praising intelligence (this can harm motivation and performance and lead them to the mindset that success means they are smart / failure means they are dumb)
  • Share the "why" not just the "what" meaning: share the relevance of the task (ex. "I ask you to do chores because it's my job as a parent to teach you the tools necessary to be a contributing member of society. In fact, it's a lot faster and easier for me to just do it myself, but then I wouldn't be doing my job. Plus, I love you enough to take the hard road by teaching you to do chores." As opposed to, "Because I'm your parent and I say so" or "Because I pay  the bills" or "Because when you're under my roof you'll follow my rules" etc.)
  • Teach your child to advocate for themselves; they need to learn to ask for help when they don't understand something and they need to learn that they may need to go for extra help sometimes, at recess or lunch
  • Explain that they don't always get what they want in life and that's okay (ex. They won't get invited to play every game at recess, not everyone will want to be their friend, they won't always get a medal at the end of the season...)
  • Read articles or books like "Outliers" by Gladwell that talk about the 10 000 hours of practice required to develop a skill or talent.

Talented people who don't know how to fail or struggle may not reach their potential. On the other hand people with no end of hard work and determination may be more likely to exceed their potential. Ability alone doesn't equal success; it takes a combination character traits like self-control, determination and conscientiousness.

When we give our children the gift of grit, we open doors for them!

October - Digital Citizenship

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.  This can prevent many issues that might arise and help our children to build some healthy digital habits. 

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 and social media responsibly. Decide on your rules and boundaries with social media with your child. Monitor their usage.  Modelling 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 of all ages 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. 

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. 

Below are a few links that have some great tips and things to think about when it comes to digital citizenship.

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

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 new beginnings.  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 be at school Mondays and Wednesdays this year. 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 about homework.”


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 - Summer Reading

I hope you all look forward to a relaxing summer. 

Of course, I have to put a plug in for getting your children to read and write over the holidays. I have attached a link to a K-3 and a 4-6 reading chart that you may choose to use. They are reward charts, so, depending on their age, maybe 20 minutes of reading a day could earn a Loonie, or maybe a star chart on the fridge might be incentive enough. Or maybe your child likes to sit at the computer all day and needs a carrot dangled to encourage playing outside and running around! Well, a healthy balance is always best.

These are examples of titles that can be found at the County Library:

Div 1

West Meadows Detectives: The Case of Maker Mischief

Cam Jansen: The Mystery of the Stolen Diamonds

A to Z Mysteries: The Bald Bandit

Ivy and Bean

Stink, the Incredible Shrinking Kid

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Underworlds: The Battle Begins

Judy Moody

Beat Quest: Ferno the Fire Dragon


Div 2

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

Circus Mirandus

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer

The Dragon in the Sock Drawer


Wings of Fire: The Dragonet Prophecy

The Terrible Two


Whatever adventures you have this summer I hope they're safe and fun with no sunburns or mosquito bites!

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