How JGS helps children with anxiety disorders
At JGS, students who struggle with anxiety find a small, structured, supportive environment that allows them to feel more in control than in other schools and educational settings.
Our staff is sensitive to the needs of students with anxiety, creating an atmosphere in which children can feel confident about themselves and their abilities, where questions can be addressed without embarrassment or fear of repercussion, and in which students feel comfortable participating in classroom discussions (but are never “forced” to do so).
There are many other ways in which JGS accommodates kids with anxiety disorders. For students with test-specific anxiety, for example, exams can be taken independently of other students, additional time can be given, or other accommodations can be made depending upon the student’s needs.
Unstructured time at school can also cause anxiety for some students. In our small school setting, students are able to form strong bonds and develop friendships early-on, helping to ease the stress of these unstructured times. The Jones-Gordon team works hand-in-hand with parents and other professionals in the student’s life, including psychologists, psychiatrists, or counselors to ensure that the educational experience is a positive one. A student with anxiety can feel assured that all of the JGS staff and teachers, including our full-time social worker and school psychologist, appreciate their feelings and are willing to listen and support him or her through times of stress. Students have the freedom to express themselves, and are given the chance to be both academically and socially successful within our supportive, nurturing learning environment.
We teach and strengthen social and emotional skills in real time using the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence’s RULER and components from other highly-effective programs. Evidence shows that RULER decreases anxiety and depression, in part by empowering kids to identify and label their own feelings of sadness and anxiety.
Another JGS program feature particularly useful for helping to ease anxiety is our school wide implementation of mindfulness. JGS students practice the techniques of being mindful on a regular basis. This practice allows students to feel content, be “present,” and to recognize the thoughts and feelings without judging them. In addition to a host of other benefits, mindfulness empowers kids with stress reduction tactics and tolls for dealing with frustration.
Lastly, our four-legged and slithering friends (including Kenai, our yellow Lab; Basset Hound, Zoe; a corn snake named Roger; Tank and Olaf, our Russian tortoises; along with several beautiful lizards) offer students sessions of calming pet therapy when needed!