Elementary, Middle and Upper Schools offer means of coping during the COVID-19 crisis.
Each week, near the end of the Elementary School’s virtual Monday Morning Meeting, Counselor Jenna Bach guides the students through mindfulness exercises. She directs them to find a comfortable position in their homes, take a few deep breathes, be aware of their bodies and focus their energy. The idea is to begin the week with intention. These exercises are just one component of the School’s efforts to support students’ social-emotional well-being as it operates remotely.
“Many are describing this as a time of grief and mourning,” Head of Upper School Roxanne Zazzaro noted at a virtual meeting with Upper School parents. “We wanted you to know, as a school community, we are here.”
In addition to regular Life Skills classes, in which students in all divisions have the opportunity to share and discuss their experiences through the practice of Council, Crossroads’ remote learning schedule provides opportunities for students to maintain healthy routines, engage socially and practice self-care. Jenna, for example, shares video read-alouds of books for Elementary Schoolers on how to deal with worry. Middle Schoolers start the day with movement exercises and end with after-school activities like salsa and improv. In the Upper School, clubs and affinity groups meet during lunch, when Student Council also recreates the Alley experience with Music Mondays via Zoom.
Socializing, explains Life Skills Teacher and Middle/Upper School Counselor Adam Waters, “is not just the icing on the cake, it is the cake of adolescence.” He recommends that students take advantage of as many opportunities to connect virtually as possible, whether simply chatting, watching movies simultaneously or playing online games with their peers.
For parents worried about how best to support their children during this trying time, Middle/Upper School Counselor Jasmin McCloud has some words of advice.
“It’s totally OK not to have the answers,” Jasmin shared in a video chat with Head of Middle School Michelle Merson. “Parents are really good models for what it looks like to feel uncertain and to not know everything, and yet still create a sense of calm, a sense of structure. … And that everything is going to be OK.”