Strengthening social-emotional skills has gained new importance as young students navigate a "new normal" since the onset of COVID.
"Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one." John Lennon
Let's face it, everyone could use a little more mindfulness to get through their days. That was the motivation behind lower school counselor/diversity liaison, Malu Molano's new "Peace Class." What started out with the goal of creating a safe space for our students to talk about their feelings and practice mindfulness and other social-emotional skills, became a place of comfort for more than just the students.
As part of the IB and Carrollwood Day School's mission of developing caring, knowledgeable, and inquiring young people who will one day create a better world, the CDS Peace Class aimed to work with the younger students to help them learn to articulate and understand their feelings in a positive way.
Gathering outside once a week on mats, students were encouraged to join the peace circle and the Mindful minute of silence to focus on their breathing. Then one-by-one, each student would identify their emotions either through a "temperature check" or with colors signifying a great day or a horrible one and everything in between.
A lot of the students used this activity to talk about their feelings of anxiety and sadness because of the COVID virus. It became an opportunity for them to learn to express what was happening inside their minds that initially could not be put into words. Once everyone who wanted to had shared their feelings of the day, there was always a short activity. Either Yoga poses for balance, talking about conflict resolution scenarios, reading a book on a specific Mindful practice, and many others.
One of the favorite activities of the year was the Mindful walkout to South Beach. Students and Mrs. Molano sat by the lake and did a 5-minute Mindful breathing exercise. Being aware that CDS students who were on the ALP program at home would also like to participate, Mrs. Molano logged in regularly for a "feelings check-in" plus an activity related to Mindfulness.
Thank you to Lower School Counselor/Diversity Liason, Malu Molano, for facilitating the Peace class and for all the work she does every day for our students.