Erica Ebert is the Webster Central School District's newly added Instructional Specialist focusing on student wellness and mindfulness across K-12 classrooms. Students rave about the difference mindfulness can make in their day, whether it's prepping for an exam, tackling a big project, or getting centered in the midst of a hectic semester. Erica also owns and operates Balance Fitness, a yoga and meditation studio in Webster. In our pursuit of mindfulness experts, we were able to get her insight on impactful practice and how to get started.
Why does it seem like the shortest month of the year is actually the longest? It could be because of those cold, short winter days that encourage us to cocoon in our homes. However, the best ways to fight off the winter blues involve getting out!
How do social emotional skills play a part in the day-to-day functioning of your facility/program?
Building the social emotional skills of our youth is an essential part in what we do, from intake to discharge. Whether we complete formal assessments or engage in teachable moments via daily interactions, our goal is to support youth and families in increasing self-awareness, and empowering them to take control over their lives. A secondary goal, no less critical, is supporting staff in understanding their own needs and triggers so as a team we can provide better service to families by developing better understanding of ourselves and our communities.
It’s early January – a time of contradictions and conflicting emotions. It’s that time of year when we simultaneously want to refresh, renew, and try new things AND want to curl up on the couch and wait out the cold. It’s a time when we want our students and youth participants to buckle down and get back into work yet we get as excited about the prospect of a snow day as they do. We crave routine and order yet miss the chaos and excitement of the holidays as the winter stretches out with no good excuse to eat chocolate anywhere on the horizon.
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” . . . or is it? Whether you work with young people in schools, afterschool programs, or early education centers, for many children, the holidays bring with them stress and anxiety. Often the young people we work with are worrying about money, family situations, gift-giving, being “different” in their beliefs or traditions, and loss. All of these factors can cause children to feel anxiety or sadness at a time when the mainstream media (not to mention their family and friends) is screaming, “Joy! Happiness!! Merriment!!!” As educators, what can we do to help them embrace this season with hope rather than trepidation?