The month of April is national stress management awareness month. High stakes standardized testing begins this month, graduation and prom are on the horizon. Not to mention just the everyday stresses of life at any grade level that you serve. This month, take some time to focus on SEL strategies and trauma informed/resilience practices to rejuvenate your students for this end of the year push.
Front and center display resources for students. Getting students to see and be aware of the great resources you have curated for them is key. If students don’t know it exists, they can’t ask for it. When thinking about what to display, think outside just the realm of stress relief in general. For this display I pulled books on diet, exercise, sleep habits, yoga, and mindfulness. The diversity of the topics gives more chances for students to see something they might need or connect to. Stress management doesn’t just have to be about getting through it, it can also be about prevention so it doesn’t get to the point of overwhelming.
Provide students with a calming creative outlet. I do this on a monthly basis all year long, but for the month of April I highlight this section of the school library for students. Craft bags are a way for learners to disconnect from technology and just be creative.
This could be done at every age range, and many of the crafts my high school students enjoy the most are things they remember doing as younger kids. For example, the craft bags for this month are wax yarn strings and a rainbow sucker for spring.
Much of the year the makerspace area is organized chaos. Tons of materials in different bins and sections that students and teachers can use for whatever they might need to create. To promote stress management this month, try creating stations in your makerspace that students can visit throughout the school day. The most popular station in my makerspace so far this month is the stress ball creation station. Just simple balloons and rice, but the students have a fun time creating them and then using them as a fidget during class and at home when needed.
Providing our patrons with resources to manage the stress of life is a gift. We aren’t able to take the stresses of life away, but we can help them deal so they can be present and ready for learning at school. April is a great chance to incorporate some SEL informed practices into your space. Creating opportunities for students to tackle stress in a positive way using resources that you curate and provide.
Author: Elizabeth Libberton
Elizabeth Libberton is the library media specialist at St. Charles East High School in St. Charles Illinois. She currently writes book reviews for School Library Journal. She is a member of the ALA Awards Selection Committee. Also, she is a member of the steering committee for the AISLE Lincoln Book Award.