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Wellness Day Prepares Fifth Grade Students to Handle Pressures of Middle School

Wellness Day Prepares Fifth Grade Students to Handle Pressures of Middle School

Hastings-on-Hudson, NY – Stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, these are words that you might feel are only associated with being an adult, but these are also words that are on the lips of children. They feel pressure from school, society, friends, and family.  To help the fifth grade students who have just entered Farragut Middle School in the Hastings-on-Hudson UFSD, the fifth grade teachers and support team decided to hold a Wellness Day for the children.

Spearheaded by Kyle Case, Danielle LaBella and Shannon Mulholland, the teachers approached FMS Principal Gail Kipper with their idea of a Wellness Day. “We wanted to give the students a way to become acclimated to the middle school, meet all the fifth grade teachers and team members, and begin learning coping strategies,” explained Shannon Mulholland. When Principal Gail Kipper heard their plan, her response was an energetic yes, saying, “The idea of a wellness day embodies everything FMS stands for: how students can keep their minds and bodies healthy and stay centered on the present. We have been doing a great deal of work around social emotional learning and wellness, working with such institutions as the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. So, this was a perfect plan.”

After an assembly on safety in the morning by former FMS student and current Hastings Police Patrolman Sam Brecker, the students rotated through workshops on stress/coping, hygiene, mindfulness, healthy snacks, acceptance/kindness, and yoga. Throughout the day, the students kept notes in a journal and ended the school day by creating posters on what they had learned.

Thoughts included answering questions such as how am I unlike anyone else; what acts of kindness can I do; how do I accept others and how do they accept me; what do I eat and what should I eat to be healthy; creating mood meters based on levels of pleasantness and unpleasantness; and healthy coping options so you don’t feel despair.

Hollis Sklaw, a fifth grade student said her favorite workshop was mindfulness because she felt so relaxed she felt like she was going to fall asleep and, “It was a good activity to calm down and get rid of stress.” Along a similar note, student Samantha Coletti said the yoga workshop reminded her of mindfulness and, “The breathing helps you forget about worries.”

In reaction to the day, statements by students in the hallways included: the day was awesome; and, we love Wellness Day.

Farragut Middle School is sure to now make this an annual event. Those involved in the event included the school psychologist, guidance counselor, special education team, teachers, and administrators.

At the conclusion of the event, Principal Kipper thanked all the teachers and team members who made the day possible, and the cheerleading efforts of Assistant Principal Christopher Keogh.

Farragut Middle School is located at 27 Farragut Avenue, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706.

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