Wellness Works in Schools class featured on the cover of National Geographic's International Editions in February 2010.
Cheryl T. Desmond, Ph.D
Professor, Educational Foundations
In the News:
New York Times - June 16, 2007
the Classroom, a new focus on quieting the mind
By PATRICIA LEIGH BROWN
"The Wellness Works program has a clear focus and purpose. The program and instructors helped students to develop healthy mental, emotional, physical and social behaviors."
~ Principal, Elementary School
"Wellness Works helps each student begin to develop essential intrapersonal survival skills. Those skills are so invaluable in today's culture of change that without them a person's very being can stand vulnerable to tomorrow's unforeseen changes."
~ Consultant, Alternative Education & Director, Intermediate Unit
"I do not know of any program which works so quickly with students for them to begin to take control of their lives and begin developing an internal locus of control. It seems so much common sense that something as simple as controlling your breathing, posture and mental imagery would help you begin to control other aspects of your behavior. "
~ Middle School Principal
"Our students live in a world of constant chaos. Wellness Works gives our students a time and place to slow down and focus on calmness and self-control, as well as the choice to demonstrate both. The Parent Day was especially incredible, as it gave our students a chance to encounter their parents in a neutral setting, a quiet place based on respect and self-control. Wellness Works has shown our student that they have the power to create their own inner peace in a hectic and out of control world."
~ Middle School Teacher
"As a result of Wellness Works, students seem more interested in their school work and take more time to process what's happening before they react."
~ Assistant Principal, High School Alternative Education
"Each time I have observed Wellness Works in action I have been impressed with the impact on the participants including troubled youth in detention and kids in special school classes. The obvious reduction in agitation starts with the peaceful demeanor of the teachers. Keep up the good work. I am always impressed how well it works!!! Guess that's why you call it Wellness Works."
~ Directory, Mental Health America of Lancaster County & Chair of the Advisory Board of the Lancaster County Youth Intervention Center
"This training was truly an eye opening experience. I crave more of this! The mindbody connection is so real, yet so hard to attain! I can see so much the value in the classroom!"
~ Special Education Teacher, Middle School
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Created and launched by Kinder Associates LLC in 2001, Wellness Works in Schools is an innovative health and wellness program based on mindful awareness (mindfulness) principles and practices. Taught by our team of teachers in numerous and diverse educational settings, the program responds to contemporary educational challenges by helping students develop the needed skills to address important issues like: stress, mental health, emotional balance, behavior and learning readiness.
Wellness Works in Schools is designed to motivate, educate and support students, teachers and families in developing the mental, emotional, physical, and social competencies to handle life's challenges healthfully, across school, home, work and community. Wellness Works embraces a whole person/whole child perspective and is grounded on universal health and wellness principles and incorporates mindful awareness, contemporary neuroscience, and executive function approaches to optimize strident achievement and behavior while supporting classroom teachers.
Our program offerings are strongly influenced by our training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and our continuing connection with the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society.
- To be Mindful
is to be aware or to be conscious in the present moment nonjudgmentally with compassion
- Mindfulness approaches (e.g. focused awareness, healthy breathing, mindful movement and relaxation) strengthen skills of awareness, focus, attention and concentration.
- By strengthening this inner locus of control, we foster greater mental fitness, emotional intelligence, and physical well-being to relate and respond to life's challenges, healthfully.
Wellness Works in the Classroom is generally presented in a series of sessions, each 45 - 50 minutes, with sequenced lessons (according to grade level and readiness). Students explore emotions, intentions, personal goals, resiliency, and problem solving skills. While appropriate for all students, the program effectively targets those with academic and behavioral issues (alternative and special education settings including autism, learning support, and emotional support).
Wellness Works in Schools objectives are reached through a series of active-learning classroom/group sessions where students experience various expressions of the following components:
- Group discussion of selected mindbody health and wellness topics e.g. handling challenging emotions, mental fitness, strength (inner and outer), the nature of anger, resiliency, hope, courage and more.
- Mindfulness skills (focused awareness, attention and concentration) to shift one's focus from external stimuli to internal awareness and sort out thoughts, emotions and impulses in a non-reactive way
- Healthy breathing promotes slowing down, calming and becoming present
- Mindful movements strengthen the mindbody connection by releasing tension and stress
- Rest promotes balance and stability
- Group reflection allows students an opportunity for inquiry and comment
Participation in mindful movement (sitting and standing) is voluntary, but students may not distract from the teaching or learning of others.
Over the twelve years of teaching Wellness Works in Schools, we have created eight core curriculums with age-appropriate lesson plans. Continual updating allows meeting the need of students, teachers, and educational settings.
Teacher Training Programs
Teachers are experiencing an intensification of expectations, time pressure and emotional challenges in their classrooms. To respond, teachers need new skills and training to address these stressful mental and behavioral issues not only for themselves but for their students. To support teachers' personal and professional development, Kinder Associates offers two Wellness Works programs for educators:
- Wellness Works: Professional Development Workshops - Our Wellness Works Professional Development Workshops provide an introduction to mindful awareness principles and approaches that will stregthen the classroom teacher's skills to respond to thier own stress and challenges. Conducted in 2-3 hour formats, these workshops are both informative and experiential.
- Wellness Works: Classroom Integration Teacher Training (CITT) This training consists of a series of sessions (generally eight or more hours) designed to assist teachers in deepening understanding and strengthening mindfulness skills (awareness, attention, focus and concentration). The classroom teacher accesses healthy ways to self-regulate, maintain inner balance and transfer these skills to their students and classroom environment. Classroom teachers and students gain emotional resiliency and improve performance in the face of academic, personal and social pressures.
In conjunction with Wellness Works in Schools programs for students and classroom teachers, Kinder Associates provides programs designed to promote mindful awareness in the family.
- Individual Wellness Works Instruction - In response to parent and professional requests, Kinder Associates offers individual Wellness Works sessions to support children and adolescents in handling stress, anxiety, and behavior. During these sessions young people work and practice at their own pace based on their own needs. Experienced teachers provide individual support and mindful awareness approaches (healthy breathing, mindful movement and relaxation) to promote self-regulation and strengthen skills of attention to manage oneself across home, school, and community.
- Wellness Works for Families - tailored to individual school settings, the program is designed to share health and wellness information and practices relevant to handling challenges across home, school and community Students often encourage and enjoy sharing Wellness Works with their family members.
- Wellness Works for Mindful Parenting - Parenting can be stressful. This Wellness Works workshop offers family members the opportunity to learn and experience mindful awareness practices specifically related to parenting. Mindful awareness has been shown to deepen and enrich healthy connections both within oneself and with others fostering healthy personal, interpersonal and family dynamics.