HERRIMAN, Utah (ABC4) – Jordan School District implemented a new way to help kids: wellness centers. The centers aim to regulate kids’ emotions, so learning is easier for the kids and teaching is easier for the teachers.
Imagine a child in an elementary classroom is feeling anxious or stressed. At Ridge View Elementary they have a place they can go, the wellness center.
“It’s come to calm and return to learn so we can get them back to class as quickly as possible,” SEL Specialist at Jordan School District Jodee Packer said.
At Ridge View Elementary when kids feel angry, stressed, tired or anxious they can check in to the new wellness center for ten minutes and do what they need to calm down.
“I think it’s really just like calm and really helps just like get everything out like you know you can be yourself in here,” fourth grader Ruby Walker said.
This wellness center is one of 33 Jordan School District is opening or remodeling within the next year.
School staff said these wellness centers are key in improving kids’ behavior and learning, and the initial data in schools shows promising signs.
“We saw a 90% decrease in aggressive behaviors since implementing a program,” Packer said.
Not only does it help the kids get their mind ready to learn, it helps teachers teach and understand her students.
“To have a student come to me and tell me, this is exactly what’s going on right now and this is how you can help me, that is going to be such an important thing for all teachers,” fifth grade teacher Jenifer Lawsom said.
A couple of kids showed ABC4 their favorite parts about the wellness center, like the canoe.
“If you feel like you need a hug, they’re really cozy and if you lay down in it, it will like give you a hug,” second grader Ridge Withers said.
When speaking about the soundproof headphones, Walker said, “You can just like have a moment to yourself because you can’t really hear anything.”
Concerning the sticky balls and the sensory pads, Withers explained, “Sometimes if you’re really frustrated you, you want to like punch something or something so you like push really hard.”
Ridge View and Jordan School District said kids aren’t coming to these centers as a punishment or to ditch class, it’s a way to learn about their emotions and return to class ready to learn.
“We expect to see even test scores going up in the coming years because students are spending the time in class focus and regulated and not getting in trouble,” Packer said.
Jordan School District plans on taking their data from all the wellness centers in the district to try and find what works best for the kids.