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Empowering Through Education by Judianne Jayme

Communicating our health

by Judianne Jayme

My last article discussed the importance of having the right environment for your child. This month, my focus is on wellness and health.

Our school has built a culture that encourages sending kids to school with healthy snacks. Proper nutrition is key to a child being ready to learn – and health goes beyond just what they eat. We practice mindfulness at school and we also are working on self-regulation and being awareness of how we’re feeling (and why we’re feeling that way).

I recently told my students that I was feeling sick (hello, flu season!) and that I needed to take care of myself. I asked them what I could do to help prevent myself from getting worse. Without my prompting, they were busy talking to each other to give me advice: get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids (preferably tea), eat my vegetables and fruits, and make sure I washed my hands. A student approached me privately and told me that I also need to fully rest and that means to not worry about them with a guest teacher.

That was so thoughtful and also a deeper idea. These are sixth graders who are aware of physical health needs, and on a deeper level, understand what else could hinder my recovery from a cold or flu.

Parent Tip: healthy practices

Be aware of our own health (physical, mental, emotional) and be vocal about that experience. My being honest with my students has led to them being honest about me. They can tell me when they’re antsy and they, themselves, can figure out what they need to regain focus.

Something our school is doing is called “Zones of Regulation” and it has been working out really well so far in my classroom. It is helping my students (and myself!) be more aware of how we’re feeling throughout the day and how that can affect our learning and others’ learning, and what we can do about it. A quick Google or Pinterest search should give you some ideas of how these zones work. Give it a try!

Judianne Jayme is an educator teaching sixth grade and a division-wide mentor in the Winnipeg School Division.

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