School Counselor, Wellness Teacher
In addition to serving as the school counselor for younger students, Mrs. Riley teaches social-emotional skills in the Lower School. One of her main goals is to make children aware of the impact of being kind to others. Did you know she once lead teenagers on wilderness trips?
Impacting Students I start every class with a peaceful moment. The children and I take time to settle into our surroundings, feel our feet on the floor, take deep breaths and listen to the sound of Tibetan chimes. We explicitly talk about how we're practicing calming our bodies, settling our brain and focusing on something as a collective group. We sit in stillness until we no longer hear the chimes. This is the children's signal that it is time to raise their hands. Once everyone is raising their hands silently, be begin our time together. Many children say it's their favorite part of the day!
Lifelong Learner I had the opportunity to attend a conference in New York City entitled Educating Mindful Minds. It was such an amazing conference that I almost don't know where to start. One of the big takeaways is that our brain “sticks” to negative events like Velcro, but “slides” on to positive ones as if on Teflon. I've used this metaphor when working with fourth graders both individually and as a class. I've even brought in a cotton ball, a Teflon pan and a Velcro strip to demonstrate. We've then started every wellness class this year by writing down three personal and positive things that have happened since the last time we met so we're actively choosing to remember positive events.
Favorite Teaching Moment Collaborating with other teachers to do creative new projects with the children.
Professional Passion Teaching social-emotional learning and doing identity work with elementary aged children. I feel rewarded when children are kind to each other.
Other than Graland, I Support ... The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless
Favorite Childhood Memory When we would go to Michigan in the summer, on Sundays we would hike out to a secluded beach on property my Uncle Scott owned for "Sunday morning picnics." We'd cook over a fire, play games as an extended family and hang out all day. We wouldn't see another person as the beach was so secluded. I have so many fun memories for these long beach days with extended family.
Joined Graland in... 2006
Also Known As ... Spark Change Leader, Girls on the Run Coach, Character Task Force Member, Assembly Planner
Hometown Ridgewood, New Jersey
Education BA, St. Lawrence University MS in social work, University of Denver
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.