Health & Wellness Events Are Well Received by Students, Families & Staff in Manchester!
The Manchester Township School District has a history of commitment to focusing on the social-emotional well-being of our entire school community. Prior to Covid-19, Manchester Schools took the strong position that social-emotional learning (SEL) is essential to the success of our students because we know that mindfulness in the classroom can lead us to success. This week, to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Month, our school district hosted the first district-wide Social Emotional Learning Family Night event for all Manchester School District families post-Covid. The school district also hosted a Staff Wellness Day in collaboration with the NJEA and Manchester Township Education Association (NJEA) to implement the "Road to Wellness" program here in Manchester. The events provided a relaxed and fun opportunity for students, families, and staff members to learn and enjoy.
On the evening of Wednesday, May 24 all Manchester School District families were invited to Manchester Township Elementary School for a Social Emotional Learning Family Night Event with Sarah Stevenson of Mindful Education Services. The school district has a long-standing partnership with Sarah Stevenson from www.mindfuleducationalservices.com who supports our teachers through professional development, addressing social-emotional learning and character development, as well as supporting our students in making positive and constructive decisions. Wednesday’s family event was such a fun way for the school community to come together through an interactive workshop that was full of songs, movements, and strategies that support students and their mental wellness.
“Our goal has always been to build a culture of resiliency,’ says Diane Pedroza, Director of Curriculum. “Through incorporating social-emotional learning strategies to our classroom, and by extending social-emotional family events to our school community, we strive to add to each teacher and parent’s toolbox of social-emotional mindfulness strategies, to provide students with their own toolbox of social-emotional mindfulness strategies, to provide tools for reflection and self-regulation exercises and to always continue professional development for our staff in areas of mindfulness.”
On the heels of our family event was the Manchester Township School District Staff Wellness Day on Thursday afternoon. In lieu of a standard professional development day, Thursday’s Staff Wellness Day featured staff food cookoffs, trays of pretzels were delivered to all the schools from Superintendent Berenato reminding our staff that "we do knot know what we would do without them", kitten therapy provided by All Fur One Pet Rescue, visits from Thompson Healthcare with relaxation services such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, and more, Guitar Hero, Zumba, yoga, stress-relief activities such as making stress balls or desserts (which is stress spelled backward!), cornhole, spikeball, volleyball, kickball, scavenger hunts, and more!
“The well-being of our school community has been a primary focus of the Manchester Township School District long before it was a trend. We take the health and well-being of our staff and students very seriously,” says John Berenato, Superintendent of Schools. “Supporting and aiming to improve the health and well-being of our students and staff is a large reason why our school community is a desired place to go to school and come to work. We are proud to continue keeping the social-emotional well-being of our students and staff at the forefront of all we do here in Manchester.”
The Manchester School District continues to recognize and provide support in the area of mental wellness for our students as well as our staff. We hope that all who were able to participate in this week's mindfulness and wellness activities enjoyed the experience!