Onslow County Schools add stress relief program to more schools

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Onslow County Schools is adding Mind Up, a pilot program designed to help students with ADHD and extreme stress stay engaged, to three schools this week.

Teachers and guidance counselors underwent training Wednesday to prepare. The premise of the program is simple.

“They were coming to school not equipped with the tools they needed to self-regulate and calm themselves when they were angry,” said Lori Howard, Clyde Erwin Elementary principal.

Educators said that’s where the Mind Up techniques will help.

Students take scheduled breaks called brain breaks throughout the day.

“One brain break might be to ring a chime and tell the students to calmly listen and to take a deep breath in and then deep breath out,” said Frances Blue, Sandy Ridge Elementary. “It’s just to get them to kind of settle down and focus.”

Those breathing exercises help students be mindful and refocus.

Clyde Erwin Elementary School is one of the pilot schools in the program.

All classrooms use the techniques, with teachers taking on average three brain breaks per day that last anywhere from one to three minutes.

Students are also learning about the neuroscience behind the program to understand the mind-body connection.

Educators said they’ve seen a huge difference in students since implementing the program.

Onslow County Schools hopes to add the program to additional schools in the next few years.

The program is funded by the Onslow Partnership for Children, Jacksonville Department of Public Safety and the Onslow County United Way.

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