Saint Peter High School’s Student Services office was awarded a $750 grant from the Minnesota School Social Workers Association (MSSWA) to support the start-up costs of the school’s Wellness Room, which opened earlier this school year.
The Saint Peter High School Student Services team includes Kelly Jensen, School Social Worker; Andy Vander Linden, School Counselor; and Regina Sirianni, School Counselor.
“We converted our College and Career Center, which is across from the Student Support Services office to a Wellness Room for students to use throughout the school day,” Jensen said. “Through this grant, we were able to purchase furniture, a large variety of fidgets, including puzzles, manipulatives and items they can take with them back to class, low lighting, a diffusing salt lamp, bottled water, breathing technique posters and so much more.
The last few years have been very difficult for many students. Many of them get overwhelmed, anxious, or angry throughout the day and some are skipping class to hide in various places throughout the building or simply go home.
Because adolescents don’t always have the capacity to manage big emotions on their own, it’s important to provide a safe environment for them to learn the skills they need to be able to go on with their day and stay in school.
“We created a room for students to take a break out of the classroom when they need to calm down and process their emotions,” Jensen said. “The benefits we have seen so far include improved attendance, students working through their emotions instead of avoiding them, and learning how to reset themselves so they can return to class. We also use the room to run small groups and restorative circles. The students are thrilled to have access to the space and report that the room is very calming and purposeful.”
While students are in the Wellness Room, they are not allowed to have any devices with them. Because of this, the students are able to focus on using the mindfulness activities and practice self-regulation skills.