Stress Management and Coping

School Mental Health Ontario, Stress Management and Coping
Posted on 06/22/2023
Student mentor reading to the students

Positive Behaviour Support Worker Kathleen Mahon provided programming on emotional regulation to the Our Lady of Fatima Kindergarten class every Thursday for six weeks. Kathleen chose the School Mental Health Ontario Virtual Field Trips as it is a very engaging program and uses several different teaching styles. There are a series of six lessons that support students’ development of stress management and coping skills. These lessons demonstrate various stress management and coping strategies, as different strategies work for different individuals. Students worked on strategies such as: breathing, muscle relaxation, visualization, distraction, thought-changing, and gratitude.

For these sessions, the Positive Behaviour Support Worker collaborated with an older student to help mentor and engage the younger students. This mentor was able to co-teach, read stories and highlight resources. To start off each lesson, students did a feelings check-in that helped encourage students to identify different emotion words, expanding their vocabulary. At the start of the six weeks, students were using sad, mad, and happy to describe how they were feeling. By the end, students used words like calm, relaxed, excited, tired, bored, and silly. They were also able to identify how a student may feel by their body language, body cues and facial expressions. Students identified strategies that work for them in different situations and understood that just because they feel a certain way about something does not mean their peers will feel the same. The younger students appeared incredibly engaged when learning from their older peers (program mentors). By the end of the program, it was something everyone was looking forward to, including the Positive Behaviour Support Worker.

Students participating in School Mental Health Activity

When asked about the program, students replied:

"I liked learning five-finger breathing, and it helped me calm my body."

"My favourite thing I learned was my happy place because it made me happy, and I could think about my Grandparents."

"I liked the part where we danced because it made me feel happy inside."

"My favourite thing was reading to the kids because it was relaxing and they listened to me."– Student mentor

The programming on emotional regulation proved to be a great success for the Our Lady of Fatima Kindergarten class. The positive impact of this program on students’ emotional well-being is undeniable, and we hope to see more initiatives like this in the future.

A special thanks goes out to the student mentors who contributed to the program's success!

"Together We Educate Heart, Mind and Soul."

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