Mandalay students are participating in a new school health initiative called Wellness Wednesdays, which provides students and their families with weekly tips, activities and information for leading a healthier lifestyle. According to elementary school counselor Donna Schulman, research shows that student mental, physical and social emotional health is linked to academic achievement, and Wellness Wednesdays is a great start to making sure the students are healthy and ready to learn.
Each week, students participate in a schoolwide activity or challenge that promotes emotional or physical health. The class bringing in the most participation forms each week is rewarded with the choice of a physical education class activity.
Two of the school’s most popular activities have been Family Night and Log Off, Turn Off and Go evenings. Three dates this spring have been designated as Family Night evenings in which students are not assigned any academic homework. Instead, teachers encourage the students to complete an assignment with their families centered on social emotional skills, such as identifying emotions, calming down and thinking before you speak. Likewise, students and their families are also being asked to unplug from technology for an entire day on four scheduled days this spring.
Principal Marie Pissichio said the students are posting photos of themselves and their families on the school Twitter page and the results have been tremendous. “One student posted a photo of children and their parents playing ball in the street,” she said. “It was fantastic to see.”
One additional challenge was for students to participate in 60 minutes of physical activity for three days during a week. Students Gianna Indiviglia, Nicole Katz and Dylan Priest were winners of the Wellness Wednesdays physical activity challenge and received a water bottle donated by the PTA.
Students and families can participate and follow the school’s initiative on Twitter #WantaghWellnessWednesday.