Today's students seem to be experiencing higher levels of stress and peer pressure than ever before. Factors that contribute to the problem may begin surfacing as early as the primary school years. Bullying and other negative influences can lead to low self-esteem, failing grades and risky behaviours. Since children spend most of their time in school, schools are an ideal place to teach them how to manage stress.
We Address School-Related Stressors
Our teachers at OWIS play a pivotal role in helping children cope with negative influences and build healthy self-esteem. Posting encouraging notes or quotes around the room contributes to a positive atmosphere. Taking a few minutes to listen to their concerns helps our children feel appreciated and understood. We encourage teachers to lead classroom discussions on the effects of negative influences, and we invite our partners in the community to talk to students about stress and peer pressure. We model kindness to teach children to respect themselves and their peers
Helping Students Deal with Stress
During our recent Health Week, our students in grades 6, 7 and 8 were treated to a presentation by Gabriel Suppiah from the Score Campus. His message really resonated with the children as they learned about his background and his experiences with bullying when he was growing up. They also watched videos that gave them an up-close look at what bullying and peer pressure look like in action. After the video, Gabriel challenged the children to analyse what they had seen. What followed was an in-depth discussion about the detrimental impact bullying has on people's self-esteem. The children talked about how they should respond when encountering stressful situations - not only in the classroom but in everyday life. By the end of the presentation, they concluded unanimously that treating each other with respect is always the best thing to do.
Another highlight of Health Week was a presentation by Pooja Arora and Shirley Tay from Redefine Wellness. Pooja enlightened our children on the power of meditation, pointing out the difference between "Mindful" and "Mind Full." Shirley took it from there, guiding the children through a 30-minute stress-relief and relaxation meditation exercise. This introductory session proved highly-effective, as evidenced by the serene, sleepy faces we saw by the time the half-hour drew to a close. Pooja wrapped up with an explanation of the therapeutic effects of meditation on our bodies. When we're feeling calm and in control, we're much more likely to respond to difficult situations in a healthy way, rather than merely reacting to them.
Our students and teachers look forward to applying what they've learned both inside and outside the classroom, making effective stress-management techniques a lifelong habit.