As schools are slowly opening up in various stages around the world, returning to school can be an exciting time for students and teachers alike. The opportunity to get back to in-person learning and seeing teachers and friends, has been anticipated for a long time.
However, it can also be a time of concern and stress.
At our Brazil schools, teachers and staff noticed a heightened level of stress among students following the uncertainty of the pandemic. This is completely understandable given the tumultuous year of fear and extreme concern for our health and safety of those around us.
STRESS HAS A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON LEARNING
We know from studies that when a person is in a state of anxiety or stress, they are unable to make rational judgements (Psychology Today article). In fact, it hinders learning and memory by essentially closing off the neural pathways to the memory and thinking centers of the brain.
However, positive emotions, like curiosity and humour, have a beneficial effect and are great for learning.
It’s in the best interest of our students to create an environment where they feel safe and happy. Plus, children who experience supportive early learning environments establish a solid foundation for early learning and achievement. (Based on 2020 OECD Study – Early Learning and Child Well-being of 5 year olds.)
One of the key benefits of the Maple Bear education system is not only our agile responsiveness to the training needs of our teachers, but also our desire to support the well-being of the whole child.
STRESS AND THE BRAIN TRAINING WAS CREATED IN RESPONSE TO TEACHER CONCERNS
We took action and created a specially designed Stress and The Brain training.
Based on the concern our teachers were expressing, Carol Koran, Trainer and Quality Assurance Reviewer at Maple Bear Global Schools, created a presentation that would support our teachers around the world with content that covered topics such as:
- Basic brain anatomy and facts
- Benefits of stress reduction
- Classroom Strategies to counteract stress
“Having our Maple Bear trainers informed about the links between stress, learning and the brain means that teachers will have a deeper understanding about how to support students in their learning and their emotional wellness,” said Carol.
AT MAPLE BEAR WE PREPARE OUR STUDENTS FOR LIFE
At Maple Bear, our philosophy acknowledges the importance of supporting the child not only academically, but emotionally and socially as well.
Using techniques like belly-breathing, calming breath and gratitude visualizations, we consciously take the steps needed to teach our students to stop, focus, and practice these stress reduction techniques.
If students are to be prepared for life, they need to learn academic content and learning strategies, in addition to strategies that help them with emotional and mental stress regulation.
Carol sees the impact this has on the students:
“Excellent, high-quality education is about giving students skills for life, not just skills for school.”