Samantha thinks it is unacceptable that students are traumatised, disengaged or have poor wellbeing. Unfortunately, when Samantha began the program the number of students identifying with mental health issues was increasing, students were not connected or feeling like they belonged at school and many students were affected by trauma. Samantha thinks that engaging students, providing connectivity, a sense of belonging and positive mental health are the solution, and she believes in a school where kids feel they belong, feel safe and practice positive mental health.
The key to Samantha’s initiative was connecting with students and promoting positive wellbeing.
Samantha started by running R-7 lunchtime ‘mindfulness’ sessions, called ‘Hall Hangout’. These were initially once a week but increased to twice due to their popularity. Teacher nominated students they felt would benefit most from these. On Fridays from 2:35-3:15 – a difficult time for student to engage in the classroom – there was a ‘Chill out Zone’ in the wellbeing centre, where students could come and do crafts, mindful activities or listen to relaxing music. Both the Hall Hangout and the Chill out Zone began with check-ins with all students, so they could identify how they were feeling, and if they wanted to discuss how they were going.
Samantha’s initiative has already positively impacted 55 students who participate in Hall Hangouts and the Chill Out Zone.
“The principal has identified this program as one of the reasons our behaviour data has shown a dramatic improvement in 2018. Kids run up to me in the yard to tell me they can’t wait till Hall Hang Out in on, and these are kids who find connecting socially difficult.”
Like the idea?
Samantha would love your support for Hall Hang Outs and Friday Chill Out, or for you to start a similar program in your school, and she’d love to hear about any ideas you have or lend a hand where she can. Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get in touch with Samantha and we can connect you. Feel free to cheer her on in the comments below as well.
#WhatChangeLooksLike #ECStories #EduChange