Zen Zone Paves Path to Mindfulness

Zen Zone Paves Path to Mindfulness photo
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As part of a brand-new initiative designed to promote mindfulness and help students decrease stress and increase self-awareness, the high school hosted “The Stress-Free Student,” a three-period workshop comprised of meditation and breathing techniques. Led by art teacher Lauren Levine and YES program instructor and school psychologist Elizabeth D’Aiello, both certified yoga instructors, the workshop provided students with scientific information about the human body and nervous system to help them understand the value of developing such practices to manage their stress levels. “The Stress-Free Student” was the official kickoff of the school library’s Zen Zone, which will be maintained and coordinated by library media specialists Rose Luna and Paula Ennis.

Development of the Zen Zone, and its integration to students’ stress-management both in and out of school, is an extension of the district's emphasis on social- and emotional well-being and brain health. The space, located at the rear of the high school library, features a Himalayan salt lamp, yoga mats and bolsters, and quick response codes (bar codes used to provide access to information through mobile devices), that lead to guided meditations to ultimately help students relax, recharge and de-stress; teachers will also be invited to equip themselves with the knowledge and skills to support wellness in the classroom.

As part of the “For the Health of it Program,” school nurse Sarah Molese will also be coordinating visits by nursing students from the Molloy College School of Nursing, who will be meeting with high school students during lunch periods to discuss a wide variety of health topics. In addition to the mindfulness workshops that will be hosted throughout the year, the Zen Zone will also offer students the opportunity to participate in calming activities, including card making, Zentangles, Color Me Calm and jewelry making for charity. Luna and Ennis will coordinate activities and manage availability of the Zen Zone and students will be allowed to reserve time in that area of the library.

The space not only supports one of the district’s goals to help each student achieve a high level of mindfulness, but it also helps to ensure that each student will have the opportunity to increase their self-confidence and problem-solving skillset as they become college and career ready upon graduation.