Mental health and holistic wellness have significant impacts on student success. Research has shown that an increase of restorative wellness within schools can significantly increase attendance rates, benefit academic achievement, increase graduation rates, and lower rates of suspension.
When we ask kids what schools could do to be more responsive to their mental health needs, common responses include “more chill space” or “casual hangout areas.” Historically, if these types of spaces were in schools at all, they tended to be mostly inaccessible to students based in classrooms.
A student lounge can be a standalone room, but it doesn’t have to be. It is any space that students feel like they collectively own and operate in partnership with the school. Manifestations include being embedded as a room in a Learning Community, a zone within a Learning Commons, or within the counselors/administrative section of the school.
Accessibility is key. Consider this: are students who need the space for a mental or physical break able to use it in real-time?
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- The Wellness Impact Report
This student from Oxford University shows compelling evidence to prioritize wellness in school.
- Years of Reform Efforts Contribute to Declining African- American Suspension Rates in California
This article, which traces the recent decline of the suspension rate of students of color, highlights the importance of focusing on social-emotional learning; creating a positive, safe, and welcoming culture; and using restorative practices to address the root cause of behavioral issues.