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SHIRLEY — Mini grants have been given to promote wellness in the Shirley School District.

The money for the stipends comes from a grant through the Department of Public Health Essential School Health Services, said district nurse manager Christine Van Ells.

“It’s my job to promote wellness, and I wanted to see the great work from last year’s creation of the school wellness policy continued,” said Van Ells. “The teachers had some great ideas, and we are fortunate to be able to fund all of the requests that came in.”

Zuzana Artim, from the district’s multi-age preschool, requested yoga tapes to incorporate body and mind wellness in her classroom.

“Doing yoga, children exercise, play, connect more deeply with the inner self and develop an intimate relationship with the natural world that surrounds them,” she said. “Yoga brings that marvelous inner light that all children have to the surface.”

Lura A. White (LAW) School teacher Mary Ellen O’Hara also asked for yoga supplies. LAW librarian Kathryn Lyon’s proposal even included purchasing two books and a DVD on storytime yoga.

With fitness in mind, LAW’s Meredith Marcinkewicz also applied for small exercise weights to use for calisthenics in her fourth-grade classroom.

“We take an exercise break every morning, but it’s a lot more fun with some sort of exercise equipment,” she said.

LAW teacher Darlene Richard was interested in researching healthy snack options that her students could make on their own.

“I hope that this will inspire students to take the extra step and search for new, exciting and healthy snack recipes to make at school and at home,” she wrote in her grant.

Richard said she plans to use the money to buy the ingredients to make “delightful and scrumptious” healthy treats.

Jackie Quesnel, LAW guidance counselor, applied for Positive Behavioral Supports incentives — star stickers — for children acting pro-socially. Each staff member at the school will be given the stickers to give out to students they see being good citizens, making healthy choices and upholding the school’s motto, “We take care of ourselves, each other and our school.”

As students get the stars, they put them in a location inside their classroom and, at the end of the year, the classes with the most stars will be rewarded at a school assembly.

Van Ells said she’s pleased to have been able to grant all of the requests.

“They were all good ideas, and I also hope they will get other teachers thinking of ways they can incorporate wellness into their own classrooms,” she said

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