Learning to Relax!

Weary of screen time and computer-based assignments, students in Ms. Thomas’s 8th grade advisory requested more project-based learning during a recent wellness class. Connecting her students’ needs to what they were learning about mindfulness-based stress reduction inspired the idea of indoor gardening. Ms. Thomas thought it would be great if her students could build their own terrariums but needed $200 to buy the materials for the whole class. 

Donations to the Paul Cuffee Fund made it possible for Ms. Thomas to purchase enough supplies, soils, and succulents for every student in her advisory to plant their own glass container garden and experience the social emotional learning benefits first hand. “There are so many lessons that I can bring into the project: teaching them a skill, caring for a living thing, gardening can reduce stress, etc.,” explained Ms. Thomas. 

Students enjoyed the terrarium building activity and readily offered their feedback on the project’s impact. Here are just two of the comments they made:

“Honestly it felt good to me and it was actually fun. It felt so calm, especially since I wasn’t thinking about anything other than the plant. I love to do hands-on projects and I would love to do more!”

“The project was so calming and made me so happy. Just sitting there and building a little home for our plants made me feel so calm and it soothed my mind.”

This project naturally integrates academics like plant soil sciences with social emotional learning in ways that achieve multiple goals for our students. Thanks to the steadfast support of generous donors like you, Paul Cuffee students will be growing in more ways than one in the weeks and months ahead!