South Orangetown Central School District

WOS Children's Mental Health Awareness Week

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and this week is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. Throughout the week, School Counselors at William O. Schaefer Elementary School and Cottage Lane Elementary School have been hosting a variety of activities including mindfulness exercises at lunch and themed spirit days inspired by the mood meter.

“The activities we have planned during Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week allow for students to practice different mindfulness techniques. During recess, students were given the opportunity to participate in mindful coloring, learn how to use a breathing track, create a breathing stick and color positive affirmations,” said WOS School Counselor Tennille Marino.

On Tuesday, students donned their brightest yellow clothes to reflect the “happy and excited” portion of the mood meter and worked on practicing mindful breathing during recess. Using worksheets with “breathing brain breaks,” Marino taught students how to trace the outline of the shape on their worksheet as they focused on their inhales and exhales. “It is important for students to learn some of these skills because most of them can be done wherever they are, including at school, at home or in the community. By engaging in mindfulness activities, students learn how to slow down and pay attention to the present moment,” explained Marino. “Spending time with students at recess is a great way for me to engage with them outside of assemblies, classroom lessons and small groups. It gives me an opportunity to build rapport with students at WOS so they are comfortable using me as a resource while in school.”