Screen-Free Activities from Wellness Wednesday
Last month, we observed Mindful March whose goal was to encourage people to live in the present, especially in the ever fast-paced world we live in. At the Yew Chung International School of Beijing the by-product of this goal was the successful “Wellness Wednesday” programme, an initiative launched by for our Secondary School teachers. Its purpose was to encourage students to disconnect from digital devices and go back to basics with tasks now considered antiquated by some.
According to Susan Botcharova, Y7-9 Learning Community Curriculum Coordinator, Wellness Wednesday “was prompted by our recognition that students were beginning to become tired from the long days of online learning”. This lassitude was not only applicable to students but to their teachers as well. “As adults, were sometimes struggling to cope with the day, we knew we needed to give our students meaningful activities to do which would get them away from their computers and tablets, get them physically active, stimulate their minds and just change the routine for a day.” said Miss Botcharova.
This led the Secondary school academic team to come together and brainstorm activities for students to do for the day, and after multiple meetings, different departments including the Maths, English and Art department amongst others came up with a list for students to choose from. Below are some of the activities students participated in:
In the Student Wellbeing Department, students were instructed to build a fortress. The purpose was to design an activity that would help to reflect on feeling safe and creating a space as a sense of belonging and safety. Students were asked to use objects and creatively name their personal fortress.
Drop Everything and Read
READING is one of the most personal, most enjoyable ways to spend time. With our busy school days, many students seldom have time to simply sit with a book and lose themselves in a great story or learn about something they are really interested in or enjoy the beauty of poetry. On Wellness Wednesday we wanted students to have the time – and freedom – to select a book which would bring them enjoyment and to simply read. There are many other benefits to reading for pleasure, of course, but for this purpose, it is simply about relaxation and the time to get into a book.
Personal creativity is the focus from the Performing Arts department. Students can have up to four options to choose from to spend an hour immersed in the arts:
Music/art: create their instrument with found objects around the home
Dance/movement: choose a piece of music and create a dance
Zentangle (meditative art while listening to instrumental music of their choice)
Music: use your own instrument to practice a new song or write an original song
The humanities department hosted the community activity and chose to focus on the importance of the family. The options included;
- Options 1. Take time to really listen to your family and engage in deep conversation, we often get lost in daily life to really take time to listen to those closest to us. A few questions were given to help start conversations.
- Option 2. Get out those board games, and release your competitive side with your family. Chess, Card games, Monopoly, whatever you have to hand. have fun and remember to play fair.
Although it may be difficult to imagine life with no devices, it is important every once in a while to get in touch with each other, no devises in sight.