7th Grade Learns The Importance of Mental Health

DCC’s school guidance counselor, Ms. Snyder, teaches Life Skills this year

7th Grade Learns The Importance of Mental Health

Michaela Armanini , Writer

Currently, Life Skills is offered at DCC as a trimester course for all 7th graders. In the past, Life Skills has been offered to 6th and 8th grade students as well.

“When I first came to DCC as a new school counselor, I taught life skills for just 6th grade. We didn’t have the life skills class last year, and this year, with the pandemic, it was decided that we would add the class back in for our 7th grade class,” school guidance counselor Ms. Snyder said. 

“Along with calming exercises such as deep breathing, starfish breathing, box breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation, we focus on topics such as mental health and what mental health looks like, and then we debunk any stereotypes that go with mental health.”

The class discusses bullying prevention, drug and alcohol prevention with the program Clearfield-Jefferson Drug and Alcohol Prevention has shared with us. They also cover processing our emotions in a healthy way, mindfulness techniques, organization skills, study skills, suicide prevention, and any other topics the students want to learn about.

“I always give each group an assignment at the beginning of the trimester to tell me what their expectations are for the class and what they would like to learn about. I follow the American School Counselor Association and the Pennsylvania School Counselor Association standards on what is appropriate material for 7th grade. I also incorporate religion and faith into the class and use the Diocese as guidance. The class is mainly discussion and project based,” Ms. Snyder said. 

“The life skills class started long before I was here as a school counselor. I remember taking life skills classes when I was in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade with Mrs. Heigel when she was the school counselor. Mrs. Heigel is the one who started the Life Skills classes and even built the original curriculum,” Ms. Snyder said.

Over the years, the way the class has been organized, and the grades it has been presented to, have changed, but the ultimate goal stays the same: to provide the students with positive coping skills, social/emotional development, and to give students the skills to navigate not only through middle school and high school but through their adult life. 

DCC is happy to have teachers that know and teach the importance of mental health to our students!