MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - Emotional health and wellness will be at the forefront in Mount Vernon classrooms this week, after the Board of Education approved a resolution naming May as “Mental Health Month” in the district.
Beginning on Monday, the various Mount Vernon schools will complete a series of events and programs that are designed to educate students about the importance of understanding mental health and wellness issues that plague many of their classmates.
Throughout the district, administrators and faculty members have arranged age-appropriate activities for the students in their classrooms.
At Rebecca Turner Elementary School, students are working on several in-class lessons and activities promoting self-awareness of emotions and teaching self-care techniques and skills. At Holmes Elementary, students are participating in a “Hearth Health and Jog-a-Thon” in gym classes, while focusing on emotion and spiritual wellness by learning about relaxation techniques.
“The goal is to help students become cognizant of their own thoughts and feelings and learn how to safely and effectively manage such emotions,” Rebecca Turner Elementary Principal Jamal Doggett said. “Students will also work collaboratively to create different classroom tools to be utilized when unwanted feelings and emotions arise. Such activities include creating stress balls, feel good boxes, and worry jars and relaxation visuals. Classroom teachers will also be provided with a list of recommended books for their library as resources as well as a ‘small versus big’ worry chart students can refer to when in need.”
Other scheduled programs and activities include working on the nurturing Holmes School Garden, a career day where members of the community will explain how they earned their jobs, yoga instruction at Traphagen Elementary, “Workout Wednesdays” and “Fitness Fridays.”
According to Schools Superintendent Kenneth Hamilton, “programs like these reinforce Mount Vernon’s commitment to engage students in creative activities to reinforce the importance of overall good health and wellbeing.”
“We never lose sight of this commitment to good health and wellbeing,” he said. “Our academic mission includes having our students better understand the importance of overall good health and well-being. Introducing different fun events and activities and showcasing them in May helps support the district’s mental health awareness initiative. And that goes full circle in aiding in student academic success.”