August 27, 2013 14:58 by Nina
All K-12 students have a job: going to school. With any job, there is stress that comes along with it. From homework and school sports teams to standardized tests and school bullying, students are subjected to many levels of stress both at school and at home.
Whether an overwhelming feeling of pressure and anxiety or a consistent feeling of unease, stress can interfere with all aspects of well-being including sleep, emotions, focus and eating habits, all of which are important to the ability to learn. Susan Kaiser Greenland, author of The Mindful Child, trains teachers, counselors, therapists and other adults working with kids and teens in using mindful awareness to help kids focus and calm the mind and body when they're "over-scheduled, over-pressured and stressed."
Kelly Vaillancourt, a member of the National Association of School Psychologists, also explains in the past decade there's been "an increasing recognition of the connection between mental wellness, success in school and better life outcomes, so schools have started to implement more supports and services."
One example of how a K-12 school is introducing stress relief to their students is in B.F. Kitchen Elementary School in Loveland, CO. School counselor, Jennifer ConLintel, introduces a registered therapy dog to students throughout the school year. The golden retriever becomes acquainted with students by mingling with them during recess, being assigned to students suffering from reading or math anxiety and providing general support and companionship in the classroom. Loveland’s pet therapy is just one technique K-12 schools can try to dial down the level of stress and anxiety facing students today. Some other options of stress relief K-12 schools across the US are utilizing include:
Montpelier High School (VT) is adding a daily 20-minute recess starting this school year and encourages students to play outside during break.
Visitacion Valley Middle School (CA) has “Quiet Time,” consisting of two 15-minute breaks during which students have the option to sit quietly and rest or practice Transcendental Medicine, which is taught at the school.
Belfast High and Camden Hills High (MA) have incorporated “wellness rooms,” so students, faculty and staff can sign up for massage therapy, acupuncture and other stress-relieving therapies, all donated by local practitioners.
Los Angeles Middle School (CA) is one of many schools that utilize the Youth Empowerment Seminar (YES for Schools) run by the International Association for Human Value. These seminars teach students stretching, exercise, breathing techniques and life skills in conflict resolutions with the goal of managing stress and regulating emotions.
Does your school offer stress relief for students? Share your thoughts on our blog!