‘SELebration Day’ gives students and staff time to destress and have fun

Linden Public Schools’ first “SELebration Day” was a tremendous success, allowing students and staff a chance to take a break from the daily grind, have fun, and destress.

The district’s special observation on Friday, Dec. 10, put the focus on Social Emotional Learning (SEL) for students and staff. Formal instruction of the curriculum was suspended, and teachers and staff members thought up creative ways for students to relax, connect with one another, and focus on their own mental well-being.

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“I was so happy with the way our SELebration Day went,” said Superintendent Dr. Marnie Hazelton, who introduced the idea to the district. “I went to a number of our schools, and what I saw delighted me. Students were engaged and learning, but in ways that gave them creative outlets to build camaraderie and let their hair down. Our students and staff needed a break from the daily stressors that have been so difficult to deal with during this very challenging school year.”

Among the activities at the schools were staff raffles, costume and school spirit contests, arts and crafts, yoga, scavenger hunts, art projects, karaoke, indoor golf, dancing, stuffed “snowball” fights, visits with Santa, indoor bowling, cornhole, and board and card games including bingo, Uno, Jenga, checkers, chess, and Pictionary.

Debra Heffernan’s graphic design class at Linden High School held a contest in the week before SELebration Day to come up with a logo for the special event. The winning team was made up of seniors Michael Grannillo, Peter Janovcik, and Alex Lopez.

The district plans to hold SELebration Day once a month through the end of the school year.

Social Emotional Learning is the process through which all students and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions, achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions.

SEL is a lifelong process on how to better understand ourselves, connect with others, work together to achieve goals, and support our community.

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