MEMPHIS, Tenn. — May is Mental Health Awareness Month. And a local charter school is making sure they're taking care of their students emotionally especially during the coronavirus pandemic. Local 24 News Weeknight Anchor Katina Rankin tells us how.
We first introduced you to Perea Charter School back in 2016.
"When you serve the population of families that are at or below the poverty line level, you have seventy-six (76%) percent of them that are single. And they have multiple children. It's very hard to manage all of that," said Perea Pre-School Executive Director Alicia Norman in 2016.
Add in COVID-19, and it’s even more difficult.
"We know this time is a difficult one for everyone. We just want to provide any layer of help for our students and our families," said Perea's Dean of Social Emotional Learning LaBrenda Thomas.
The pandemic has changed just about everything with the way students learn. And it has little ones processing their emotions a little differently.
"Our instructional assistants are calling our students every Wednesday for a 'mindful moment'," said Thomas.
So Perea's Dean of Social Emotional Learning is making sure good mental health is a part of teacher's curriculum.
"While we were physically in school, each month, Perea talked about a different word of the month such as flexibility, kindness, impulse control, and forgiveness. So the instructional assistant will ask the student how have they practiced kindness for the week, or impulse control for the week," said Thomas. "The instructional assistant will process those feelings with our students and then provide them with tools on how they can either stay in that zone or get out of that zone."
"I love helping them grow to the level of their potential. The children and their families - it can be overwhelming sometimes because the challenges are many. And some of them are severe. But we feel that we are called to really help our families be better," said Norman.
Bottom line: "We want our students to continue to improve their social, emotional help," said Norman.
Thomas says when instructional assistants connect with students at home, parents get to see in real time how Wednesday's 'Mindful Moment' helps their children manage stress and frustrations during this pandemic.