In honor of National School Psychology Awareness Week (November 12-16 2018), we’re introducing you to each of our 10 school psychologists, and letting them explain what their jobs in our schools look like. They’re also going to debunk some common misconceptions about their roles (hint: they do not have fainting couches in their offices).
Meet: Quinci Elliott, MA, SSP
What’s a myth about the role of a school psychologist you’d like to dispel?
That school psychologists only evaluate students for special education. School psychologists are trained to work with regular education AND special education students through evaluation, observation, consultation – with both teachers and with parents – and counseling.
What is a favorite element of your job?
I like working with younger children in finding ways to help them learn self-regulation skills. For example, for the past several years, I have worked with my elementary school to increase mindfulness among students to help them remain calm and focus on the present. I enjoy working with pre-kindergarten students and helping parents and teachers learn how to help younger children learn through play.
What does teaching these self-regulation skills look like in your school?
At Mills River Elementary, I help co-teach a Yoga and Mindfulness Club, which is one of the Leader In Me clubs offered to students at the school. Here we help students access things they can use at home or school to practice mindfulness. We work on identifying body awareness so we know when we need to take mindfulness breaks. We work on different ways to be mindful throughout the day beyond just meditation, and of course we get the wiggles out by doing short yoga videos!
What about “learning through play?”
Children often learn best through play; they can learn problem solving as well as social/emotional interaction and coping skills in play. So I help parents of younger children and kindergarten students with intervention ideas about play, providing them with easy ideas to build these skills at home.