Independence Primary School’s Students Inspired and Educated During First Ever Mental Wellness Day
On Friday, April 8, Independence Primary School students learned to maintain positive mental health during the school’s first-ever “Mental Wellness Day.” Yoga, healthy eating, social wellness, sensory and equine therapy were all part of the students’ experiences throughout the day. The school has been mindful all school year of providing social emotional learning opportunities to their students.
Each grade level from kindergarten through fourth grade rotated through four stations led by school and city leaders, Independence High School students, and parent volunteers.
At the yoga meditation station in the gym, certified yoga instructors taught students yoga. The sensory exploration/mindfulness station included coloring and other activities in several classrooms that included soft lighting and peaceful music, led by the school district’s occupational therapist, Jessica Klonk.
Independence High School Health/Physical Education teacher Jessica Crooks, along with high school students, taught students about nutrition and healthy eating in the cafeteria. Discount DrugMart donated the food, drink and supplies for the healthy eating demonstration. Staff from the City of Independence focused on teaching positive communication skills at the social wellness station.
In addition, retired school guidance counselor Mary Dolejs walked the school campus with her trained therapy dog, Ghost, throughout the day.
While grade levels rotated through the stations, third and fourth-grade students participated in equine therapy provided by Hope Meadows. This nonprofit provides equine assisted psychotherapy for children, adolescents, adults, groups, and families to experience healing in mind, body, and spirit.
Hope Meadows brought donkeys and miniature ponies to the school campus for students to meet while they learned about equine therapy and mindful grooming.
Independence Primary School Principal TJ Ebert said, "Our hope is that our students, coming out of this stressful pandemic, can celebrate having learned new strategies to take care of their emotional health, which is just as important as their physical health."