Canterbury Boys High School
Mindfulness initiative restores sense of calm amid COVID-19 storm.
One Sydney school is nurturing its students’ physical and mental health by asking them to stop, breath, and look after themselves.
The switch to remote and digital learning during the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown up lots of innovative teaching methods.
But concerns that heavy reliance on technology could also harm children's physical and mental health prompted Canterbury Boys High School in Sydney’s Inner West to look for ways to keep students physically active, boost their emotional and psychological wellbeing, and support their relationships with family and friends.
The school decided to introduce ‘Wellbeing Wednesdays’, an initiative that encourages students to reduce the amount of time they spend on digital devices, become more active, and strengthen relationships with their families and other people.
Physical activities could be as simple as walking the family dog before or after school, or walking around the block during class break. Students are encouraged to try new things, such as reading a book from a genre they’ve not previously explored, learning to mediate, or starting a daily journal.
‘Wellbeing Wednesdays’ also encourage students to spend time with their families – gardening or cooking together – and to create connections outside of their family and nurture existing friendships.
Mindfulness applications have now been added to Canterbury Boys classroom repertoire, incorporating ‘brain breaks’ to help students focus on their lessons, and to help reduce stress.
Parents, students and teachers have overwhelmingly adopted ‘Wellbeing Wednesdays’, prompting the school to continue the initiative until students can fully re-engage in sport and other group activities.
The school has also created a special council of staff, school student leaders and parents that meets online fortnightly to discuss issues and challenges faced during the pandemic, and how to address them.
This COVID-19 council makes sure the community voice is heard, the school community is kept safe, and concerns are promptly acted upon by the school.