Empowering Middle Schoolers to Manage Stress and Anxiety
Sixth graders face unique challenges during their first year of middle school. They step onto Teel Campus with an influx of new classmates, newfound independence, and high academic expectations, all while managing the dramatic physical and emotional changes of adolescence. Stress and anxiety are normal responses to all of this change, but young students need practical strategies to manage those emotions. Part of our Transition to Teel curriculum, Health and Wellness is a class designed to help our 6th graders understand these changes, self-regulate and advocate for themselves and their peers.
A Toolkit for Life
Educating the whole person means more than focusing on academics and extracurricular activities. Before a student can invest themselves in any of those areas, they need a strong foundation of self-efficacy, self-awareness and the explicit support of their peers and teachers. The goal of Health and Wellness is to help 6th graders think constructively, make sound decisions, solve problems, access information, and take responsibility for their own lives. The class gives them a practical toolkit to manage future changes and challenges as they move through early adolescence. Topics include:
- Exploring neurological reasons why we lose control of our emotions
- Assessing personal signs and symptoms before one loses control
- Developing strategies for self-regulation including a variety of mindfulness techniques
- What to expect during puberty including physical and emotional changes
An Intentional Community of Support
Counselor Ms. Mary Foard, LCPC teaches Health and Wellness classes for our Middle School. She combines her energetic and approachable style with years of expertise in helping young students develop healthy, balanced mindsets about school, friendships, families and more. With Ms. Foard as both teacher and facilitator, the class is an unexpectedly lively place. She begins with ice breaker activities, establishes guidelines for communication to ensure respectful dialogue, and incorporates games and physical activities whenever possible. Some students are naturally hesitant with some of the curriculum, but Ms. Foard creates an environment where students grow more comfortable with themselves and their peers through each lesson. What starts as a quiet class full of cautious 6th graders blossoms into an energetic, supportive community. The class gives them a sense of normalcy at a time in their lives when very little feels normal.
About Transition to Teel
Transition to Teel is a series of classes that help new sixth graders thrive during their middle school years. Our faculty intentionally designed these classes to meet our students' needs at the right developmental level. They start the year with a focus on executive functioning and emotional regulation and end the year diving into social problem-solving and innovative thinking. As our middle schoolers move from 6th grade to 7th and beyond, they have increasing freedom and responsibilities. These classes ensure that they are emotionally, academically and socially ready to move on to the next grade level.