Home & School Connection

Looking for support and new ideas? HCPS School Counseling has you covered! This month’s Home & School Connection is all about dealing with big emotions during these unprecidented times. Check it out below! 

Home & School COVID-19 Issue – K-2

Home & School COVID-19 Issue- Grades 3-5

<3 Mrs. Hensley 

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Distance Learning – Starting with Mindfulness

Hello Lions! 

As we move into another week of distance learning, I wanted to reach out to remind you all that I’m here to help as needed. I also want to expand on some of the social emotional activities on the choice board! In the coming weeks, I’m going to stretch my technology muscles and work on some new ideas to help bring the choice board to life! 

There are lots of resources on Clever that can help with our social emotional stability during these uncertain times. The link below is a video of how to get to some mindful breathing exercises on BrainPopJr to go with our choice board this week! 

Mindful Breathing Flipgrid

Below is also a breakdown of the step-by-step to get there!

As always, I’m just an email away! Please feel free to reach out with any questions!

<3 Mrs. Hensley 

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Teachers On Parade

This week, we as a staff have been riding through the neighborhood to remind each of you that we’re still here for you! It’s been a bittersweet ride, getting to see the smiles, but realizing that we aren’t going to get the rest of the year as we had planned. 

In education there’s a saying “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. We hope that all year we have shown how much we truly do care for each of our Lions. While we may not be in the classrooms on Mapleview Ave, we are all here for our families and our students! We’re just an email away! We love our Lions! 

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You Feel What You Feel…

Hello Lions! 

I don’t know about you, but Frozen and Frozen 2 have been a hot topic in my house. In one scene of Frozen 2, Sven (the reindeer) says, “You feel what you feel and those feelings are real.” Never has that felt more relevant than in these last few days. This situation is causing a mixture of emotions that seem to change quickly. With the announcement from the governor yesterday, we are all trying to process the loss of the rest of the year’s events and milestones. There were certainly tears in my house as my own second grader mourned the loss of what she thought the rest of the year would look like. I, too, am feeling so sad for our Lions and what this means for all of those traditional spring time events we all look forward to in celebration of our year. 

Walt Disney Animation Studios © 2019 All Rights Reserved.

When trying to process and help children (and adults!) with big feelings, a big first step is simply to name the feelings. I tell students that sometimes feelings can be mixed too. I use the analogy of Sweet Frog, a place many of our kids love to go. You can have more than one flavor sprinkled with more than one topping – or more than one feeling. Your “cup” might be filled with sadness, with some excitement and fear mixed in – or whatever combination you’re feeling. It’s important to acknowledge those feelings in order to be able to work passed them. 

Some great ways to work through those feels are with art, writing, music, or sharing in some other way. If your child is having some big feelings and wants to share with me, please feel free to reach out! Feel free to email me pictures, videos, or letters! If your child wants to create a googledoc with me, they can “share” to my email address and I’ll get a notification right away! While we may not be in the building, I’m still here for our Lions in anyway I can! We all have a lot of big feelings right now and I want to do my best to help our Lions (and Lion parents!) as we go “into the unknown” together. 

                       <3 Mrs. Hensley alhensley@henrico.k12.va.us


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Spreading Smiles

With all the uncertainty and stress in the world, it helps to spread a little cheer. One idea I saw recently is the article below about an art activity that can be done easily with a space (fence or sidewalk), tape, and chalk. I set this up for my own kiddos this morning and it was a big success. They had fun, we’re spreading some joy, and they were entertained on their own for a handful of minutes! (Haha!) 

Art Project – Stained Glass Chalk 

My own children’s artwork (my 3 year old only wanted a box, “I don’t want those lines, mama!”) 



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More Ways to Explain

As we process the news that we’re going to be learning from home for a few more weeks, you might be getting more questions from your child about why this is happening – and as a mom, I know that the answers are hard. A familiar source, BrainPop, has put together a page to help explain and learn about COVID-19, staying healthy, and the ways we are working together as a country to stay safe. Many of our teachers use BrainPop on a daily basis, so they’re familiar with the characters and format. So, if you’re looking for another way to help your little ones understand, check out BrainPop at the link below! 

BrainPop – Coronavirus

For our older students, there’s a site called “This Week in Rap” that summarizes the big stories of the week. This week, it’s no surprise, is information about COVID-19 and the importance of credible sources for information. My own daughter’s teacher shared this to us today and I think it’s helping her understand a little more as well. (However, HCPS does not have any affiliation with This Week in Rap and does not necessarily endorse the site. As with anything on YouTube, please monitor children’s activity.) 

This Week in Rap

The old saying, Knowledge is Power, can help our children feel less anxious and more certain that the adults have a plan and that staying home is the best option for helping us all stay healthy! 

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Spreading Kindness and Hope

If your newsfeed on social media is anything like mine, it’s flooded with ideas; too many to sort through. I’ve been trying to take a look and pull out a few that I like to share.
One idea that I love is to have your children create and decorate a heart or rainbow and attach it to the front door. As people are still taking walks and as vital staff are still headed to their jobs, they can see the happiness on the doors. I especially love this idea as my sister is a nurse and I’m sure that seeing these small tokens of appreciation would put a smile on her face as well.
It’s on my personal children’s “to do” list for today! Maybe it can be a task for our Lions at home too!

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Working through this together – Resources

This is a trying time for all of us as we are in uncharted territory. As parents and educators, we are trying to find the right words to talk to our children. In trying to be a support to our families, I’m working to find resources to share. Please check out the links below for information for parents. As always, please feel free to reach out to me for support and ideas! I’m just an email away! We’re in this together! 

~ Mrs. Hensley alhensley@henrico.k12.va.us 

National Association of School Psychologists – Talking to Children about COVID-19

Managing Fear and Anxiety During Health Pandemic 

Video made for kids about the Coronavirus  and How to talk to your young children about the virus

25 Mindfulness Activities for Kids and Teens

Calming Anxiety – Coping Skills for Kids

Deep Breathing Exercises for Kids

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Community Resources

This is a trying time for all of us. If you or your child is in need of additional supports, below is a list of community resources who are there for you!

 HCPS Counseling Resources 19-20

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School Closure

All HCPS schools, including Longan, will be closed from March 16th until March 27th out of concerns for public safety and COVID-19 virus. While I am working from home, I’ll be keeping this updated with resources and fun ideas! 🙂
Stay Safe!
<3 Mrs. Hensley

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