Equipping students + staff with the tools to thrive in school + in life. We are the generation of wellness.
The beginning of the school year is often an exciting time filled with decorating classrooms, collaborating with staff, meeting families, and more. Many schools and districts are also planning for daily practices that combat stress and innovative interventions that actually teach skills. Why? Take a look at these sobering statistics:
A high school senior started a unique club called We Dine Together to make sure no one in his school sits alone at lunch. As Steve Hartman reports, the message is to make outsiders always feel accepted.
Quotable: "The greatest competitive edge advantage in the modern economy is a positive and engaged brain. When the human brain is positive, creativity triples, productivity rises by 31 and we live longer, healthier lives."
These research based habits include:
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This was started in one of our elementary schools in the districts and our principal decided to adopt it as well. Our teaching staff LOVE it. Teachers are able to bring their passions to students each week for 40 minutes during this elective period. We have two 40-minute elective periods every Wednesday - one for K-2, the other for 3-5. Some teachers and students grow plants in our greenhouse while others teach drawing and painting. We have one staff member teaching coding and another taking students outside, and teaching wilderness survival skills. Our music instructor teaches students bucket drumming while another staff member teaches drama. The list goes on... Anything goes during this elective time!
What activities/curriculum are your students working through during this elective?
Mission: Equipping students and staff with the tools to thrive in school and life. We believe in building strong hearts, minds and bodies.
Vision: Every school in America will educate the whole child by 2023.
How: Trainings, app + online courses that provide proven techniques that decrease stress, strategies that build connection and activities that self-regulation and self-care practices.
Quotable: "We are seeing more students coming to school with anxiety, depression and this is in elementary school. We are seeing families who are struggling and I think society as a whole needs this kind of work." - JoAnne Duncan, Principal
Wellness Warrior Spotlight
Name: Mallory Neuman
Occupation: High School Counselor
What skills have you focused on teaching this year?
Self-regulation and stress relief through guided relaxations and breathing exercises.
Working in a high school is busy and it seems there's a never ending to do list of standards to meet, tests and work/college to prep for and constant activities, assemblies and events. How is there time to teach these skills to ALL student at West Seattle High School?
As a high school counselor, you have to make time. I’ll usually start a classroom lesson with a few minutes of deep breathing, before we get into the content. We’ve also built lessons into our school-wide advisory curriculum, so even though I’m not personally delivering the lessons the students are learning about the benefits of mindfulness. Finally, I’ll work with departments who already understand the need for SEL and mindfulness (PE and World Language at the moment)...
This is the year of HAPPINESS in Dubai. Yes the year of Happiness!
"We must achieve happiness for the community through government work. This is what the Executive Council's annual agenda will focus on, to ease people's lives and provide the best services, which will provide with them a dignified living and preserve Dubai's standing as a modern international city that promotes modernity while maintaining its cultural and social traditions," Sheikh Hamdan commented with regards to Dubai's overall success, which is a source of inspiration to other cities around the world.”
It was such a great experience observing an emphasis on happiness and well-being woven throughout communities and schools. We had a fabulous time teaching the five Happiness Habits, along with some stress-less techniques and connection activities.
"I've never met a kid who can't learn, poverty is not a learning disability."
Aren't skateboards off limits at schools? Not for this principal! Hamish Brewer is not your typical principal. He says that he spends the majority of his day out in the hallways, sends a loving message over the morning announcements every morning and has a school wide motto of 'Be Relentless'.
Wellness Warrior Spotlight
Name: Kris Connors
Occupation: K-5 School Counselor
How have you been teaching the happiness habits in your setting?
I have been teaching happiness habits to individual students and small groups in my office and extending this to classroom lessons so that teachers can continue this on in community circle time or when they see the class needs reminders about what is truly important.
What results have you noticed from teaching these skills?
Wow! I have a success story about a 4th grade student who was in an EBD class last year (as a 3rd grader)! This student would have anxiety attacks at school, scream when upset, and not attend school due to having difficulties controlling her behavior or being overwhelmed. She started this year at our school and I began implementing Generation Wellness strategies/lessons and happiness habits from the get go with her. She was reluctant at first because she had a hard time trusting adults due to being new...