St. John Chrysostom students practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques

Students at St. John Chrysostom Catholic Elementary School in Newmarket recently practiced a series of mindfulness and relaxation techniques to improve student mental health and well-being.

Some of the techniques and activities that all of the school’s students participated in included: stress-reducing breathing techniques, making Mind Jars, learning mantras, and becoming mindful, among others.

Students in Kindergarten to Grade 8 enjoyed learning helpful breathing techniques with their class in the school library. Using deep breathing to calm oneself and reduce stress became the practice in each classroom at St. John Chrysostom and this technique provided very effective for testing time! 

Students also learned about and created Mind Jars. Using visualization and mantras like "let it go," and "be the pond," students worked to help control any negative thoughts and emotions.  Every student in the school also contributed to a school wall of balloon bouquets, as a way to ‘let go’ of their worrying thoughts. 

A school wide mail system was set up at the school, complete with a general delivery box and mailboxes for each classroom.  A greeting card and letter writing station was created in the library to encourage students to exchange kind words with each other and positive thoughts. Students were also given the opportunity to spend quiet time in the school library.

All of the mindfulness techniques and relaxation activities culminated in a school-wide Heart and Soul assembly on Tuesday, March 10th.

At the assembly, students recited a prayer and sang the school song. As one school community, the students practiced a breathing exercise and watched motivational videos. The students also participated in an activity that helped them think about the things that make them happy. The assembly wrapped up with a performance by the school’s Glee Club.