#41 Sussex County Teacher Edition: Andover
Students were disregulated and in need of coping strategies and I think a lot of times we’re so focused on the academics and the rote instruction…we really don’t have the same framework for social emotional learning.
– Dr. Melissa VanBlarcom, School Psychologist
School Psychologist, Dr. Melissa VanBlarcom from Long Pond School in Andover, New Jersey shares her story about how she works with the school staff to make mindfulness a part of the school’s culture. Each class period kicks off with a one-minute mindfulness practice! Listen in to see how they make it all happen.
Stress and anxiety levels in students have become a major issue in the classroom and that’s why I’m super excited you’re here because this Sussex County Teacher Edition is all about highlighting what teachers and school staff members are doing with their students in the name of social and emotional learning.
One of the one things I’ve come to know about facing challenges and tragedies is that kids of all ages sitting in classrooms all throughout Sussex County and the state of New Jersey suffer greatly from them. Year after year I witness these levels in children increasing. Students trust themselves less, they lack resiliency, as well as the ability to cope with minor disruptions.
As the Sussex County Teacher of the Year with a platform for embedding yoga and mindfulness into the daily classroom instruction, it’s become my mission to seek out other teachers in the county who are making tremendous shifts in the learning process for kids. While I accept this honor very graciously, I also acknowledge the fact that there are many other teachers in the county who deserve to be highlighted for implementing the same practices.
With the help of our Executive County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Rosalie Lamonte, and all the Chief Administrators in the county, I‘ve been able to make some great connections, hear some inspirational stories, and learn about the healthy goodness that’s happening with our kiddos in the classroom to help them build strong social and emotional character, which creates a solid foundation to confront the personal and academic challenges they are facing.
I think it’s so important as eductors [to highlight mindfulness initiatives] because we have this wonderful access to so many different children that we’re able to teach them both academic and social, emotional skills that they can used throughout their lifetime.
– Dr. Melissa VanBlarcom