Student Wellness takes center stage with a week of fun activities

All locations and programs participated in a wide range of wellness activities

teacher and student plantingStudent wellness is always a priority, but it was at the forefront this past week in the form of activities and programming designed to meet the needs, abilities and preferences of all students in all programs. 

Student Wellness Week spanned locations across the county, as Southern Westchester BOCES students were presented with opportunities to take a break from their usual routines and  schedules to focus on fun and engaging self-care activities.

Most of the events were in-person, and many were outdoor, though some virtual sessions enabled even more students to take part. Activities ranged from fitness, music, art, nutrition and mindfulness. Participation was left to the discretion of teachers as to what was most appropriate for their students.

Astudents and teacher on trailt Tappan Hill School, a No Bake Challenge incorporated nutrition into snack preparation. Healthy snacks were also provided. Assistant Principal Francesca Fernandez hosted a read-aloud of the book Rainbow Fish, and students participated in a calming Sensory Bag Activity, with supplies provided by the school.

At the other end of the spectrum, an exciting Dance Party was a hit with students and staff, who packed the gymnasium and showed off their dance skills. Replete with a photo booth and props for pictures, the event brought on smiles and impressive moves from students of all abilities.

Irvington Middle School and High School students took part in nature walks led by Physical Education Teacher Sarah Thornquest. Middle School students often have energy to expend, Ms. Thornquest said, so they hiked up into the wooded trails east of the campus.

students on a hiking trail

Normal Physical Education classes don’t usually allow enough time for such a hike, she added, so this was a nice opportunity for students to really stretch their legs. Meanwhile, the High School students at Irvington took their nature walk and picnic to historic Lyndhurst Estate in Tarrytown.

Valhalla Center students engaged in activities that took advantage of the perfect spring weather and the campus’s plush lawns to take part in outdoor yoga, gardening and planting, sports skills contests and even a classic “gym class” parachute activity. They also prepared healthy smoothies and held a singalong.

Rye Lake Middle-High School students donned headphones in the “silent disco” and listened while a teacher played hip hop music, DJ-style, and a light show played on the gymnasium wall. Some students took part in a mindfulness activity where they designed artwork to accompany a specific word. Others played on the campus’s basketball courts.

student playing a bongo

The Rye Lake Lower Campus kicked the week off with several fun, engaging and mindful activities that included music and movement, yoga and stretching, a nature walk, gardening, a sports activity and a singalong. St. Matthew’s School rounded out the week with an art and music activity, yoga and stretching, a mindfulness activity, gardening and planting and a healthy recipe contest for lunch.

Members of the Student Wellness Subcommittee that planned the week's events are Nick Ceglio, Ariel Farber, Andrew Ruoti, Jane Shields, Diane Storm, Sarah Thornquest, Michelle Tilokee and Frank Zambrano.

“It was gratifying to see this collaborative effort come together across our programs and locations and to see our students engage in so many meaningful activities that benefited their wellness physically, mentally and emotionally,” Director of Special Services Andrea Byrne said. “I thank the subcommittee members who planned these events and all the teachers and staff members who so thoughtfully made this week a reality for our students.”

student working with finger paints