Mental health awareness is an important topic throughout elementary, middle, and high school years, and the students at Harrison Avenue Elementary School and Harrison High School have been examining how they look at maintaining their health. Teachers Estel Sampelayo at Harrison Avenue and Wendy Swenson at Harrison High School are incorporating the Mind-Body Connection into their Physical Education classes so students can learn to focus on becoming more self-aware.
The students in the Harrison Avenue program have been learning and practicing mindfulness in order to help them feel focused, aware, less anxious, and able to handle emotions. Much of the focus has been on being mindful, respectful, and kind toward others.
“During our mindfulness sessions, the students have been asked to practice Heartfulness, which involves sending kind thoughts to others,” said Sampelayo. “During class, students are able to share these Heartfulness moments by writing compliments on the “Brag Board.” The hope is to encourage the message that much of our joy comes from being kind toward others.”
At the high school prior to Mid-Term Week, students focused on Rapid Relaxation, Stress Reduction, Visualization, and Growth Mindset to give students an array of tools to help ease stress and anxiety.
“In order to prepare our students to deal with the daily stress and anxiety of being teenagers, as well as the rigors of academics, our Mindfulness and Yoga lessons featured techniques such as “Stop, Breathe & Think” and “Practicing the Pause,” said Swenson.
Students have already reported a noticeable change in their sense of calm and confidence by utilizing these new skills throughout the school day.
“Our hope is that we can continue to positively influence our students’ academic and social lives moving forward,” said Swenson.