Educators are experiencing a great deal of angst from their students who have returned from the effects of the pandemic. I know our school staff and our counselors at Lakeside have seen more mental health crisis than usual in the lives of our students. It is difficult to find ways to help these students. It takes the care and compassion of our staff who are mindful and capable of dealing with these mental health issues in the lives of our students.
For all students in the schools across America it is also important to realize that there is a much greater need for brain regulation than ever. Helping students manage their emotions and behavior is a difficult set of challenges for teachers in our country and has made for many struggles within our classrooms. In a recent article in Edutopia, Connie Morris writes to the idea of helping students find their calm through breaks and exercises during class. Here are some excerpts from her article:
The pandemic has been challenging for teachers and students, and while we’ve shown a growth mindset and amazing resilience, continuing to navigate through these uncertain times can cause both mental and physical fatigue.
Tapping into what I call PAUSE—for Practice Awareness and Understanding Self Exercises—can create calm in the classroom and life amid the chaos. By practicing mental wellness exercises as a class, you and your students can benefit with improved mental and physical health, coping skills, and a positive outlook. Making small changes can mean more success as we rewire our brains and develop new habits.
She then discusses some simple ways that teachers can help students find calm through exercises, breathing, mindfulness and self-regulation. Also, it is important that teachers find their own space of calm which we call co-regulation.
Neurologic by Lakeside has provided training for schools and resources to equip students in these same skills. The Director of that program, Josh MacNeill, has published a booklet called 101 Brain Breaks and Brain Based Educational Activities which is currently selling in our Lakeside store. You can secure this book by going through this link. You will also be able to purchase our curriculum, posters and student journals for brain regulation and calming students’ brains.
It is so important for us all to be mindful of how we can help students find their calm, have successful relationships and be able to learn in school by being aware of how their brains are working during class. We hope these resources will be helpful to taking healthy brain breaks for a calmer school environment.