Lafayette Students Practice Mindfulness through New Social Emotional Learning Program

Children, especially at a young age, benefit tremendously from learning mindfulness and emotion regulation strategies. It’s been shown to improve classroom behavior, academic performance, and manage stress and depression. 

That’s why Lafayette Elementary School has started a new pilot program for first and second grade students called Girls Empowerment through Mindfulness (G.E.M.). While the acronym is for girls, the program is open to all students, since everyone can benefit. 

“The goal is to provide students with strategies to cope with hard emotions through meditation and mindfulness,” said Principal Erika Clarke. “We want to support each child at Lafayette not only academically, but also emotionally. This is yet another way we can do that.” 

Students participate in brief lessons – about 20 minutes – over six weeks. Each week features a different topic, including lessons on mindfulness and emotions, how to pay attention to the body’s cues, breathing techniques, and more.  

“We talked about our pond of emotions, which made me calm,” said Nicole Hilano, a first grade student in the program. “Miss C. taught me new ways to relax my body and mind.” 

Clarke thanked School Counselor Janeen Kinney for arranging the program in conjunction with Bound Brook/South Bound Brook Youth Services Commission. 

“Thank you, Mrs. Kinney, for always supporting our students and their mental health,” she said.