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Tari Shattuck grant helps kids remain calm and focused

MONKTON — The Tari Shattuck Education Foundation has provided a generous grant to support students’ social-emotional learning at Monkton Central School. With their funding, Monkton Central School was able to purchase Hoberman spheres or “breathing balls” for every classroom, related arts room, and other rooms throughout the school, for the purpose of encouraging students to use “belly breathing” as a way to calm their bodies and refocus their attention.
This year in weekly Guidance classes, all students (K-6) have been learning about their brains, “focused attention,” and other mindfulness techniques as a way to be better learners. The grant also provides financial support for children’s books for students, available in the MCS library, on the topic of social-emotional learning. Additional resources purchased include the curriculum materials of MindUp (Brain Focused Strategies for Learning-and Living) and Responsive Classroom (Doing Math, Science and Language Arts in Morning Meetings).
“The breathing ball helps me when I am stressed or worried,” said one third-grade student. Another student remarked, “The breathing ball calms my heart so I’m not feeling that feeling a lot anymore.”
The curriculum materials will be available to all staff to use with their students, teaching them skills that promote focused attention, a calm and engaging learning environment, and brain development. In addition, these materials and learning materials support what students are learning in weekly Guidance classes all year for all grades, and promote school-wide climate.
Monkton celebrated the gift of the breathing balls at an all-school assembly on Dec. 8. The Tari Shattuck Education Foundation, based in Bristol, is a nonprofit organization founded in 1993 to fund projects, activities, and organizations that support and develop teachers and students.
Editor’s note: This article was provided by Carolyn Tatlock.

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