CGS introduced Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day on Wednesday, November 17. We focused primarily on emotional health, and not academic health and growth for this day. We assembled resources and programming to promote positive well-being, raise awareness and teach our students how to seek help and advice strategies, and generally TALK about their mental health.
Our Early Starts took time throughout the day to meditate. They also discussed Gratefulness and added to a special Gratitude jar their own writing and pictures.
Our JK students brought special ‘mindful’ books and puzzles to share with their class. They spent time on table and floor puzzles which they LOVE! The JK’s were encouraged to paint whatever inspired them while listening to music. They had a wonderful time in their yoga class led by Mai from ‘123 Kids Yoga’. Later in the day, they played a game called ‘The Hot Seat’ where they took turns sitting on a special chair and saying kind words about one another. They realized that the person who was sharing something kind felt just as happy in their heart as the person hearing it!
The SK class discussed the Seven Grandfather Teachings and learned how to whittle wood. They were excited to have the opportunity to respect and learn how to use a blade and carve sticks. From first-hand experience they now know how this special skill can help them in life to do many things such as marshmallow sticks for a campfire or helping prep vegetables in the kitchen. What an important life skill!
One of the SK students was nervous and didn’t want to do the activity. But, after listening to the Seven Grandfather Teachings and learning about bravery, they took a risk and joined their class. They took on the challenge and succeeded with the help and encouragement of their peers. We are so proud!
The Grade 1 class read ‘Mindful Day’ by Deborah Hopkinson. They explored feelings of gratitude and love and learned how breathing can calm both mind and body. The class talked about how marvelous every moment can be when we experience it as fully as possible, especially when we use our 5 senses. Heading out for a nature walk and living in the moment, they put their discussion to the test. They discovered things that would have been missed were they not focused on the present (birds and squirrels preparing for winter, lavender still in bloom, the empty bird nests in the leafless trees).
They spent time discussing all the different emotions we feel and experience. They also talked about the brain and how being in a fixed mindset affects our way of thinking and living. Even when we feel frustrated and sad, if we can say positive affirmations to ourselves every day, we will slowly begin to train our brains to believe in ourselves and what we can achieve. The students thought of affirmations they can tell themselves every day, wrote them down and then made bracelets to serve as a reminder. They also composed a beautiful affirmation that they will be saying as a class every morning as a reminder of all the wonderful things we can do and accomplish.
The Grade 2’s started the day with ‘mindful’ colouring sheets and discussed what mental health is. They took down the original affirmations from the Affirmation Station produced their own replacements. There are some great affirmations! They enjoyed sharing their affirmations with Parisa during their Mindfulness session.
After recess the class painted some beautiful pieces as they listened to calming music. They were thrilled to be able to paint whatever they wanted! They created their own Breathing Beads and learned how to use them to breathe intentionally. They ended the day with some free choice time – always a hit!
Our Grades 3&4 class did a mindfulness craft called Mandala Hands. They discussed how this helps them feel grounded by acknowledging their emotions and also how the drawing and colouring helps to ease stress.