Centrals Wellness Activity Block

The eight sources of strength that students had a discussion about during the activity blocks.

The eight sources of strength that students had a discussion about during the activity blocks.

As the school year progresses, high school students tend to become increasingly stressed. Like most teachers,  Hunterdon Central’s staff members noticed this and wanted to know what they could do to help. They collaborated to figure out the best way to help their students manage stress, and they came up with this idea: Wellness Activity Blocks. The school spends a lot of time and effort making and putting these blocks together in order to create a well-unified and less stressed school, but how do they work? What do the students do? How does it help?

These activity blocks typically replace one of the blocks on the dedicated school day. Last year, students were sent to specific classrooms organized by their last names where they completed the activities with their peers. This year though, the activity blocks have taken place during block two, so students were grouped with their usual classmates, creating a comfortable space for all to participate. Instead of losing a whole block, first block is shortened to give the next block extra time to work on the activity before moving on to their usual work. 

During these blocks, there are activities for the students to complete. Sometimes it’s a Google Form about respect, a jamboard about coping mechanisms, or a worksheet about mental health. These activity blocks are usually planned by a student-led organization at Hunterdon Central called Sources of Strength. This program was started two years ago during a particularly challenging time for students, hybrid-learning . The organization’s advisor is none other than the principal, Mr. Brandt. The most recent activity block on December 13th consisted of a video talking about the eight sources of strength. These eight sources include physical health, mental health, family support, positive friends, mentors, healthy activities, generosity, and spirituality. 

The video covered each source and described what they are and how they affect a person. For example, the video might say a “friend” source of strength can influence your life because friends will be there for you and can talk you out of a negative mental state, or how “spirituality” can give a person faith and peace. After this video was played, the students had a discussion about what they believed were their sources of strength, what they were lacking, and how they planned on increasing different sources. Finally, the students were instructed to take a survey for the counselors to get to know their students better! This is because counselors play a big role in a student’s life and even their well-being, so the better they know them, the better they can help.

The activity block on December 13th was just a small example of the work Sources of Strength does at Hunterdon Central. There are many different activities that Sources of Strength prepares for students here. For example, the organization has hosted fun game nights over Zoom to get more students connected when the school was still in COVID lockdown. The school hopes to continue such work through activity blocks.

Why are activity blocks important? Well, they’re important because they center around all of the students in the school and their well-being, mental health, and making school-life as enjoyable as possible. They shine a light on important topics such as respect, sources of strength, coping mechanisms, and more. In doing so, students learn about different ways to give help, get help, and help themselves. Activity blocks are very important because they’re a wonderful way for Hunterdon Central staff members to support their students.