Online schooling and blended education has brought in a new challenge of retaining the focus of the students participating online.

Bolles leaders have been reflecting on ways the school community can help students manage stress, make healthy choices and better emphasize wellness in their daily lives. This focus has resulted in many new programs and initiatives, including participation in Stanford University’s Challenge Success program, the creation of Health & Wellness committees, the addition of a Health & Wellness curriculum and educator on the Bolles Middle School Bartram Campus and in a more organic way, an increased number of teachers facilitating mindfulness techniques in the classroom – at almost every grade level. Educators who have made time for reflective moments are seeing promising results and say the practice helps develop key student aptitudes in presence, peace and purpose.

“Many students report a sense of calm and focus after going through just a two-minute session of mindfulness or breathing techniques,” said Lisa Drew, Bartram’s new health and wellness educator. “As a teacher, I witness the students being quieter and listening to each other better. I try to employ the breathing focus when students come in from activities period or lunch or when they have been running around a bit and need to get back into ‘classroom’ mode.”

Drew said she was not sure how students would react to mindfulness training before she introduced it. However, she has been pleased to see how open students have been to it this semester. In addition to quiet mindful moments of meditation, Drew uses reflective writing, role plays and discussions to help students sharpen their ability to empathize, be present and find calm.

“Students appreciate a reason to sit still, focus on their breath and get quiet in their thoughts – they rarely have a chance to experience this feeling during their typical day,” Drew said. Full story here: