May 16, 2024
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Ohel Offers Resilience Resources to Navigate Challenges

Ohel Kestenbaum Family International Children’s Services reminds schools and families about its original social-emotional offerings during Mental Health Awareness Month.

(Courtesy of Ohel) Over the last several years, Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services has developed original learning resources for preschool through grade school students to proactively build their emotional health and wellness. These represent Ohel’s commitment to creating ongoing tools to help children grow their resilience, identify their strengths and learn how to navigate their emotions. Mental Health Awareness Month is the ideal time to learn more and implement these resources.

 

Learn About Resilience

Ohel works globally with many schools to share the power of resilience, and believes that preparing children for challenging times throughout their lives is essential. Dr. Carly Namdar is Ohel’s resilience programs coordinator and collaborates with schools to ensure that resilience—the ability to navigate through life’s ups and downs—is part of the curriculum, encouraging teachers to bring the concept front and center.

“When children are resilient, they can understand and talk about their emotions, achieve more academically and maintain better relations with family and friends,” said Dr. Namdar. “We all have challenges, and growing resilience at a young age helps children become equipped and empowered for the future. Social-emotional skills are actually a greater predictor of academic success than IQ, and in today’s climate it’s essential to integrate these life skills into the school day.”

One trend Dr. Namdar often sees is people mistaking resilience for toxic positivity. She says that resilience doesn’t mean we go through life without feeling or acknowledging struggles – it’s the opposite. “Resilient people feel many emotions,” added Dr. Namdar. “Teaching resilience allows parents and teachers to build strong children, with an emphasis on their agility and ability to remain flexible to adjust to the challenges they may face”

Following are a few other little-known facts about resilience:

  • Just as our resilience can change over time, resilience can vary by situation. Some children may demonstrate greater strengths and resilience in some areas over others, such as socially versus academically.
  • Resilience is not predetermined. We are not born with a set amount of resilience. Resilience is a muscle that we can exercise and build.
  • Resilience helps us to regulate the emotions that often accompany adversity. A resilient person has a toolbox ready, so they are not overwhelmed by life’s challenges. They learn how to manage and cope with the emotions they experience.
  • Resilience can help us transform our challenges into opportunities for growth.

 

Leverage Resources

Dr. Namdar said that building resilience is really a parallel process and the best way to build resilient children is for teachers and parents to model resilient behavior. She concluded, “Our resilience can change over time as we experience adverse events or trauma. It’s not a ‘one and done’ process. Adults have the privilege of helping children grow and develop, and it’s important to bring resources into both the classroom and the home to enjoy the process and journey together.”

“Inner Space: My Resilience Workbook,” is Ohel’s new space-themed experience where elementary school-aged children learn about resilience through fun, easy to understand and do, hands-on activities and critical thinking exercises.

Ohel donated over 95,000 copies of this book to children in Israel, all coping under different circumstances: children displaced from their homes, others residing within the foster care system, some whose parents are fighting on the front lines, immigrants from Ukraine and Ethiopia waiting in absorption centers, and students in schools all across Israel.

Danit Tayri, director of counseling at North Shore Hebrew Academy at Cherry Lane, lauded Ohel’s workbook:

“Ohel’s team has created a masterpiece. “Inner Space: My Resilience Workbook” has taken the complex research that has been done on trauma and resilience and transformed it into an excellent workbook for elementary school children. Each page targets another piece of the children’s emotional development, building inner strength and resilience. Our teachers enjoy using the workbook and our students look forward to their engaging weekly lessons. I highly recommend it!”

“I Feel That Way and That’s Okay” is a picture book to help preschool-aged children understand their emotions and to understand how emotions can be experienced inside their bodies.

Mushky Tuvel, principal of Magen Israel School, highlighted the importance of Ohel’s publication by saying, “We want to teach our children not only to recognize their feelings but to embrace them, creating
a foundation for understanding and compassion that will last a lifetime. Ohel’s resources are here for just that!”

You can email [email protected] to inquire about bringing these resources to your school or community. Ohel’s dedicated team is available to provide training and consultation on implementing these resources in schools.

Visit www.ohelfamily.org/resources to download the workbooks and related teacher editions. For more information, visit ohelfamily.org and follow Ohel on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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