Our 2019 School Report: Schools Helping Kids Cope
Our kids are bombarded by messages, images, media and other unseen pressures that can cause confusion, frustration, and upheavals in behavior. At school, teachers and administrators can be important resources for students as they face the big bad world. In this year’s annual round-up of private schools in Atlanta, we asked about the resources available to kids to help manage the stress of growing up. It’s not easy!
5750 Long Island Drive NW
“Springmont students manage stress by spending time in nature and developing their creativity, and because they have strong relationships with their teachers, they feel comfortable discussing social and emotional concerns as well as academic stress. Students spend 2-3 years with the same teachers, and our culture of mutual respect encourages them to view teachers as resources and mentors rather than authoritarian figures. Springmont is lucky to have a full-time outdoor science education teacher, vegetable gardens and a greenhouse, and a barnyard full of animals including 18 chickens, two goats, rabbits, a sheep and a turkey. Spending time outdoors helping to take care of our animals and plants is a great stress reliever. In addition to regularly scheduled art and music classes, students are encouraged to spend free time in our art and music studios staffed by three full-time specialists who are cognizant of students’ social and emotional development. We are lucky to have such a shaded and spacious playground. It was completely renovated last summer and now includes a 100’ long slide and new equipment specifically designed to support students’ sensory needs and cooperative play. Structures blend with the environment and provide physical fitness as well as fun. All students have PE or recess every day.” Jon Alden, Head of School
Atlanta International School
2890 North Fulton Drive
Student stress is ever increasing. Here are three good tips to decompress:
1) Talk to friends and trusted adults
2) Exercise or physical activity can help release endorphins, (which are the feel-good chemicals in our brain)
3) Take time to do the things you enjoy: investing in a hobby is an investment in yourself!
Lisa Archibald, Middle School Counselor
The Lovett School
4075 Paces Ferry Rd NW
“Stress is normal, but every student’s threshold for handling it is different – so there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution. When stress starts to seem overwhelming, here are some things to consider. Physical wellness: the importance of enough sleep and a healthy diet cannot be understated, as is getting regular medical check-ups. Mindfulness: being present in the here-and-now will help lower your stress response; find a mindfulness technique that works for you, and you may discover that being fully present helps pressure become more manageable. Facing your stressors: the body’s stress response (adrenaline and cortisol) is normal and can help us have the energy and focus to accomplish difficult tasks. Trying to avoid the unavoidable may work in the short term, but it poses risks to how our body manages stress in the long term.”
Chase Jones, Upper School Guidance Counselor, The Lovett School
The Cottage School
700 Grimes Bridge Road, Roswell
“In a number of recent studies, students site three main stress points caused by school: academic anxiety, social concerns, and general anxiety.. At The Cottage School, our three pillars of strength support the academic, social, and emotional needs of our students. Through small class sizes (no more than 10 students in a class, 4th – 12th grade) and experienced teachers, a vigorous anti-bullying campaign (Be the Voice), and a program that supports our students’ emotional needs (a comprehensive counseling program), TCS provides our school community with the tools and strategies to fulfill their true potential as confident, productive, and independent adults.” Lynn Bosworth, Elementary School principal
966 W. Paces Ferry Road NW
“Stress—a natural, physical reaction to challenge—can have positive and negative impacts on mental and physical well-being. Successfully managing stress has much to do with how we perceive it. The Pace Academy counseling team recommends that parents model appropriate responses to pressure and mistake-making so children learn to rebound from disappointment and build resiliency. In addition, research recommends “getting off the grid” by reducing screen time, participating in enjoyable outdoor activities, exercising and getting sufficient sleep. Finally, creating a toolkit with self-soothing strategies—mindfulness, restructuring unhelpful cognitive distortions and using sensory objects—may be helpful.” School Counselor, Kacy Brubaker
We love our neighborhood public schools and try to include them in our coverage throughout the year. Please send school news, story ideas and photos to our editor. Also, calendar and event photos can be uploaded from the links on our website!