Friendly Friday Walks
As part of our school focus on Social and Emotional Learning we decided as a staff to commit to walking for 10-15 minutes every Friday morning to connect and build a sense of belonging, and appreciation for place among our students and staff, particularly as we had been feeling quite disconnected as a school community during the pandemic. This strategy was a way for us to be intentional with our students using our Blair Cares Framework: Care for Self, Care for Others and Care for Place.
In February, since we are halfway throughout school year our SEL committee decided to scan and ask the students and staff for feedback about our Friday morning walks. In particular we asked them:
1) How do our Friday walks make you feel? 2) How do Friday walks help you with your learning?
The students responded with many positive comments to the questions asked:
"They put us in a good mood."
"They wake us up so we are ready to learn."
"We get exercise!"
"They relieve stress that we may have in our bodies."
"They help us to be more calm and focussed so that we can learn better."
"They are a time to connect with friends and teachers we do not see very often."
In reviewing the data we collected, it was evident that the whole school enjoys our Friday walks and find it a positive way to end the week. We did notice that is was hard for some students to explain the connection between the time outside walking and the impact this has on their bodies and minds to get ready for learning.
Next steps: As a staff we discussed the importance in being explicit and intentional in the teaching of SEL skills and strategies so that students understand how these skills and strategies are connected to helping them to learn and thrive in school and in life. For example, walking with friends and feeling happy and connected increases you ability to tackle something that may be difficult during class, as you have started your day with a positive mindset.