For many students, transitioning from a homely environment to an external school ambiance becomes quite challenging, both mentally and emotionally. They often get nervous and find it difficult to cope with various classroom activities. Some even have a tough time interacting with their colleagues and share their experiences. For such students, exercises can play an important role in releasing stress and take part in school activities in a relaxed and ready state.
Additionally, there are many students who have gone through significant adversity and trauma. Many of them do not have secure emotional attachments, which is essential for academic and personality development. As a consequence, there may be disorganization in the lower brain regions, which may create hindrances in healthy brain development. Some serious outcomes may include dysregulation and severe social, behavioral, and academic issues.
It is very important to ensure brain development of students and strengthen their cognitive functions. For this, implementing sensory and motor system strategies for emotional regulation can play an effective role. Additionally, introducing frequent transitions in early childhood can support healthy changes, when the brain is more adaptable to varied experiences and environmental changes.
For better outcomes, teachers and concerned authorities of an educational institution can follow the below-mentioned practices. These actions can promote rhythmic activity and body motion, while helping students who come to the school anxious, confused, angry, and disturbed, and help them to tackle the adversity they face in their lives.
Activities to Start-Off the Day on a Positive Note
Teachers can implement the following activities to transform classroom sessions into interesting experiences. These can also motivate students to participate actively in the classroom, while ensuring better curricular and extra-curricular outcomes.
Steamroller: This activity is specially designed for children who do not like to be touched directly, but require extra support to calm the nervous system. Under this process, students have to lie on their tummies with their arms spread wide. Consequently, teachers have to roll a large exercise ball up their bodies from their feet to their heads, while the entire class sings about a steamroller. Eventually, the teachers roll the ball side to side down one arm and then the other. This rhythmic activity calms down the students and releases their stress, while they sing and enjoy the entire session.
Burrito: This a unique activity, which initiates body awareness. It combines rhythm and gentle but firm pressure, just like the steamroller. In order to conduct this activity, students are asked to lie down on a blanket, while it is slowly rolled up. This makes sure that that the blanket is wound around them, providing firm pressure. Then, teachers unroll the blanket with a slight speed, while the students pretend to roll down a hill. It is a fun and engaging activity, which provides students to open up, socialize, and interact with their classmates, creating memories and many new experiences.
Peaceful Brushing: Being one of the favorite calming strategies among students, this helps in transforming classroom sessions into an unforgettable experience. Here, everyone sits in a circle, while the teacher model a peaceful brushing, circling the face and ears with a makeup brush. They continue the process- brushing hands, arms, palms, and so on. Some students may emulate their teachers and start brushing their own peaceful spots. This light touch is very stimulating, in a gentle way and is very effective during break times and transitions, as well as when students first arrive at school.
Trauma and Stress Releasing Exercises: These exercises are focused on releasing stress and assisting students in overcoming academic pressure. Accordingly, students are instructed to squeeze different muscle groups and then release and shake them out. Similarly, asking them to scrunch their faces tight and then release those muscles can be helpful. Teachers can instruct the students to close their fists and then slowly release, shaking them out. This contraction can be released with the shoulders, legs, and arms. Similarly, students can scrunch down and pretend to e a bear, before releasing all the muscles and standing back up again. Practicing these exercises in the classroom will help in enhancing the students’ fight-or-flight response. Many students experiencing significant trauma and adversity face tension and stiffness in their bodies. Performing the mentioned exercises will help them release the tension.
Interacting with the Friends: Under this activity, students are asked to communicate with friends and peers from their locality. Additionally, teachers instruct them to engage and develop cordial relationships with their classmates. This will provide students the opportunity to open up with each other and share their experiences. Accordingly, students will develop a sense of understanding and mutual cooperation among themselves. This will boost their confidence when they will realize they have friends in the classroom whom they can rely on during any sort of crisis. As such, students will feel confident and more focused on their class and homework and participate actively in academic activities.
The methods mentioned above can play an essential role in assisting students to overcome academic stress. Implementing them, teachers can help students calm down and work efficiently towards achieving academic goals.
– Ananda Kamal Das