School Counselling with Ms. Aquila

Dear Families!

This is me and my friend, Lexa.

My name is Anna Aquila and I am clinical counsellor with over twenty years of experience working in elementary schools in Burnaby. My hope is that this is a space to connect, find information and relevant resources.

Self-talk, ANTs and Super Power Questions

Welcome back after the winter break!

This month children in grades 2 and 3 are learning about self-talk, automatic negative thoughts and how to challenge those thoughts. We read a book called, “Captain Snout and the Super Power Questions,” written by Daniel G. Amen.

Self-talk is automatic, temporary and usually not based on the truth.  It comes and goes like the wind and sometimes we get stuck in negative thought patterns. There are three types of self-talk: helpful – the kind that cheers us on and motivates us to keep going, unhelpful – this is where our inner critic shows up and the last type is neutral – not helpful nor unhelpful, just observational.

When we think in helpful ways, a chemical is released and we feel good. When our thoughts are unhelpful, a chemical is released in our body and we feel bad.

These are typical thinking traps that we get stuck in.

What can we do to support children with unhelpful self-talk?

  • have conversations with your family about your process noticing, naming  & challenge unhelpful thoughts by modelling these three steps

STEP 1 Notice It – pay attention to your thoughts

Step 2 Name It – Oh this is an ANT

Step 3 Chase It away – use a Super Power Question


Emotional Regulation

In Division 5, we are discussing three key players in the brain and how they impact our mental health in our daily lives. The way we regulate our emotions impacts our relationships, the way we communicate with others and how we approach challenges. These are a few videos on this topic.



Healthy Habits

Dear Families,

Here is a easy to use graphic to motivate and develop healthy habits at home. It is developed by BC Children’s Hospital to promote healthy behaviours. Please check out their website for free resources and more information. Click Here!

ZZZPower Sleep Program

Dear Families,

The ZZZPower Program is a evidence based, locally developed program implemented in classrooms . This program enforces sleep focused strategies to develop healthy sleep habits for children in Kindergarten to Grade 2. Please check out the website for more information. Click here.

Parents of children in Division 11 & 12 can access the family resources in the classes section of the top tab. If you don’t know the passcode, email myself or your classroom teacher.

Read along with your family.


Also, listen to the ZZZPower Song sung by Dawn Pemberton.


Digital Literacy with Family Smart

Hello Families,

Today I want to share information about an organization called Family Smart. It’s an organization that supports child and youth mental health and helps families by providing support  in connecting families to resources and services.

Every month, they facilitate presentations called “In the Know,” on a variety of topics presented by experts in the area. See the latest video called, “A Conversation for Families about Digital Wellbeing and Mental Health.”

Summary of the presentation:

As parents, we struggle with balancing our children’s time spent in the digital world and what we consider the real world. It’s not easy to know how much time on technology is too much and how to set boundaries that don’t create conflict. Join us for a conversation with a digital wellbeing expert to learn some practical solutions to our everyday concerns and challenges around our kids’ use of screens and their mental health.

Dr. Kristy Goodwin, Digital Wellbeing and Productivity Researcher, Speaker, Author and Consultant.

Victoria Keddis, FamilySmart Practice Manager & Facilitator

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