By Linda White
Davis School second-grade students were recently introduced to and experienced a number of techniques designed to reduce stress – many of the same techniques routinely embraced and practiced by adults. Stress-Free Day was coordinated by second-grade teachers Karen Shamon and Alli Lua. Students from all nine second-grade classrooms, approximately 200 students, participated on Friday, June 2.
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Karen Shamon explained, “Stress Free Day was an activity my own children loved at JGMS.It was a successful activity coordinated by School Adjustment Counselor Renee Anderson. Using the JGMS model as a base, I revamped it and geared the activities for Davis second grade students. We piloted the program last year to good reviews and were happy to present the program again this year.”
Twenty-minute activity rotations were scheduled throughout the day. Sessions included two different types of yoga with Bonnie McCulloch; a karate demonstration by BHS graduate Rob Ackerman of Callahan’s Karate; “Dance It Out” with BHS sophomores, Brooke Shamon and Randi Holbrook; mindfulness with Paula Springer; coloring to music; knitting with Paula Petschek; a games and puzzle room that encouraged collaboration and teamwork; and outdoor chalk drawing.
Students moved to different classrooms for the different activities, giving both teachers and students an opportunity to interact beyond their usual level of interaction with one another and with different classroom environments.
Teachers reported calmer students who demonstrated better listening skills. Grade Two Special Education Teacher Jess Harrington commented, “After a hectic spring, it was so nice to walk around and see the kids engaged in activities in which they were truly stress free.” Student comments included, “Wow! I love yoga! Maybe we could do more in class!” and “This was the best day ever!”
Davis School Principal Beth Benoit summarized the day, “Stress Free Day was a great day that allowed children to appreciate the various ways we relax and enjoy learning together.”