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Finding calm


Clifton School recently held a school-wide Wellness Day to provide students with examples of how they can incorporate healthy practices into their daily lives.

The Jan. 26 event had students placed in mixed-grade level groups and rotating through eight different wellness stations throughout the day. This included a yoga studio, a mindfulness workshop, meditation sessions and more.

The day was made possible with a Manitoba Healthy Schools grant.

“This is a day for students and staff to focus on the components of health: mind, body and spirit,” said Principal Nancy MacTavish. “When we looked at the WSD’s Tell Them from Me Survey, we noticed that the Grades 4 to 6 students can have very high levels of anxiety. My hope, by having this event, is that students can learn at least one way to regulate and feel calm whenever something stressful happens in their lives.”

Resource Teacher Kim Webster said students are also learning about self-regulation in the classroom: “We’ve been covering mindfulness in all of the classrooms through the Mind Up curriculum, so this event is a nice way to tie it all together. We want students to have a very Zen and peaceful day.”

Other sessions included: a kindness workshop with the Prairie Theatre Exchange; a session exploring the impact of physical activity on mental wellness; a session with the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba; and a “spa” in the school’s library, where students ate healthy snacks, listened to calming music and read quietly.

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Elsewhere in the school, WSD Indigenous Support Teacher Misty Perrun led a session entitled “Mental Health with an Indigenous Perspective.”

Students learned about the Four Sacred Medicines, and also participated in a sharing circle and a dry smudge.  

“The students really enjoyed learning about some Indigenous traditions during this session,” Ms. Webster said. 

At the end of the day, students were sent home with their own wellness kits that included further materials on all of the sessions they sampled throughout the day.

“Students can now take these strategies and practise them at home,” Ms. MacTavish said. “It reinforces all of their learning from today.”

For Clifton teachers, the day also provided many different ways to support students in finding that sense of calm.

“By teaching students these strategies, it changes behavior on the playground, in the hallway and in the classroom,” Ms. MacTavish said.

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