High school life can be complicated and demanding. Anyone who’s been through it remembers the social stress, the challenge of juggling classes, and the demands of managing the shift into young-adulthood. Students report that stress and intense emotions often make it difficult for them to focus and complete schoolwork.
To help, Commodore and EHHS Counselor Ann Brandner and Bainbridge Youth Services Counselor Courtney Peck developed an idea. With a Teacher Innovation Grant from BSF, they piloted a “Create Calm” lunch group at EHHS that was open to all. Students were able to relax and talk and learn a few mindfulness tips such as breathing, awareness, and self-relaxation.
Students were also invited to take part in Learning to Breathe, a curriculum that’s been used in many schools to help young people develop skills in awareness, self-calming, relaxation, and emotional regulation. Becoming skilled at mindfulness techniques such as these not only improves overall health and well-being, but also strengthens attention and performance.
The students who took part were so pleased with the program that they recommended it become part of the standard PE or health curriculum so all students could take part. Students also appreciated having the dedicated space in the building as a “calm center” where they could take a break during lunch. As the program continues, the two counselors at the helm look forward to feedback and ideas from the students that will allow them to shape the future of this fledgling program.