Upper School Wellness Day Inspires New Mindfulness Practices

On Friday, February 10, the Upper School community gathered on campus to participate in the School’s first-ever Wellness Day. Organized by Head of Upper School Amanda Finigan, Associate Head of Upper School Ashley Dotson, and School Counselor Karen Boyer, the day offered students a change of pace and an opportunity to explore new wellness practices outside of the classroom. 
“We know that the pandemic continues to be stressful for students and we wanted to give them this dedicated time to support their health,” remarked Ms. Boyer. “Ms. Finigan, Ms. Dotson, and I wanted to create an event that supported wellness for our Upper School students where they could engage all of their senses, learn practical wellness tips, and have the opportunity for joy as a community.”

To start off the day, students selected their top choices from an offering of faculty-run workshops ranging from journaling and meditation to pottery, hiking, and flag football. The activity sessions gave everyone the opportunity to explore different mindfulness practices or engage in activities that they found relaxing. Some of the workshops offered included: 

  • Deep Listening: A Central Practice for Relaxation and Self-Exploration
  • Chess Café
  • Winter Walk
  • Finding Calm with the Barefoot Contessa
  • Guided Meditation
  • Pencils & Podcasts
  • Clay
  • Flag Football with Friends

After the morning workshop sessions concluded, students heard from Marybeth Kennedy, a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in helping children and teens with anxiety. Ms. Kennedy discussed mood regulation and relaxation training, offering tips to facilitate mindfulness during times of stress. Wellness Day concluded with a viewing of the grade 8 musical Frozen Jr., followed by the beloved tradition of “Ellis Idol,” where the talents of Upper School students filled the auditorium with song, dance, and lots of laughs. 

“I am so grateful for the leadership and faculty of the Upper School,” said Ms. Boyer. “They not only value student wellness, but also creatively responded to make it a wonderful day!” 

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