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Schools nationwide, including District 58, have seen an increase in student mental health needs. In response, District 58 has increased its student support staffing and resources in recent years. At Highland School, three teachers— Cori Holtze, Julie Walters and Brittany Sanfillippo— decided to address student mental health in an out-of-the-box manner: by forming the after-school Mindfulness Club!
“We started this Mindfulness Club because we are greatly concerned about students, staff and the world’s state of mental health,” said Highland Resource Teacher Cori Holtze. “Since Covid, Mrs. Walters, Mrs. Sanfillippo and I have seen an increase in mental health issues among our students and we wanted to do something about it. We are proud to share that we have 58 students who are doing the Mindfulness Club! We are teaching about breathing, affirmations, yoga, meditation, and general mindfulness strategies.”
The teachers offer two Highland Mindfulness Clubs: one for primary, and one for intermediate. The primary club is a large group, while the intermediate group is smaller, giving more time for small group conversations. These pictures highlight the most recent intermediate Mindfulness Club! During this session, students learned about meditation, they enjoyed and learned about crystal ball Sound Baths, and they practiced yoga.
When asked why they joined Mindfulness Club, here’s what the students had to say:
- “It’s very calming and helps me calm down easily.”: Aimee, fourth grader
- “It’s really relaxing and I get to learn cool breathing and yoga techniques.” Olin, fourth grader
- “We can calm down.”: Caroline, fourth grader
- “It teaches me helpful breathing strategies that I use to calm down.” Anika, fourth grader