Creative Ways to Support Students Emotional Well Being
We recently wrote a post about what children need emotionally and how schools can help. There are some creative, and more subtle ways, schools can connect with their kids on these topics. Here is a quick overview on how you, as a teacher or principal, can address your students’ feelings and make them feel supported in a creative way.
First, select a topic. As an educator or administrator, you are in the best position to know the needs of your students and/or school community. Are people struggling with the health concerns right now? Are people worried about finances? Are people feeling lonely? These are all common feelings right now but they will likely differ in your community depending on whether school is in session or not. Outside of the pandemic times, there may also be other feelings around belonging, or kindness that you want to emphasize at your school. Once you have selected two or three areas/feelings you want to address, you can start to create your plan.
Second, create a plan. Find a third party resource that addresses those feelings. It is critical to choose someone that doesn’t push the students to discuss these items outright but that takes an approach of relating to the children. We discussed how effective this type of approach can be and what types of feelings you may want to address in this episode of the Multipurpose Room. There are a number of different acts that may fit the bill. For example, you could engage a story teller to share their life story. You can select an author to share a chapter from a book whose characters are experiencing the same challenges are your students. It may be that you get students’ energy up by doing something different like a musical performance. Whatever you do, getting creative can certainly pay off.
Third, fund that plan. You may wonder where you can get funding for a third party to come in? Common sources including partnering with your PTA or PTO, a local business, or using a state grant. In New York, for example, there is arts education funding where you pay the fee to the third party up front but you get 80% back at the end of the school year. So that's back in your pocket to afford a program for the following year. Other states have arts education funding as well that could apply to any program you are putting on that have an artistic element.
Finally, execute that plan! Once you have the plan funded, choosing a date and unleashing your great ideas is all that is left. Your students will appreciate the thought you put in and having a totally different type of assembly will brighten their day. We would love to hear what kinds of creative assemblies have paid off for your school so don’t hesitate to reach out with your ideas.