A group of first graders are reducing elementary school stress with mindfulness techniques.
At Carrollton Elementary School, glitter jars and breathing balls are part of the everyday classroom. They are used at least once a day as part of mindfulness exercises in the classroom that help students regain focus and handle stress.
“We are at a high poverty school and the students can have lots of trauma,” said principal Lisa Williams said. “I know that can make it difficult to learn.”
When students become distracted, they shake the glitter jars, and sit and wait until the glitter falls to the bottom before returning to their work. For fourth grader Frany Tullis, the jar is used at home as well, to calm herself down when she gets frustrated with her brother.
“I use it a lot, especially when my brother gets on my nerves,” Tullis said.
Students use hand gestures to let teachers know when they are upset or getting close to an emotional explosion. Fourth grade math teacher Lynsi Christiansen reports that her students ask her to start a mindfulness session for the entire class when they feel it is necessary for them all to regain their focus.
“It’s a language we can share and it helps build a sense of community,” she said.