BYA Shares Wellness in the Woods with Families
Bloomfield Youth Assistance, with sponsorship from Bloomfield Hills Schools Foundation, and partnering with PTOC Health and Wellness, held their first of three speaker programs for elementary students and their caregivers at the Johnson Nature Center. The families gathered together on a cold, sunny afternoon to learn how to manage big emotions from expert Jessica Cortez, LMSW, and Nature Center Naturalists.
Cortez presented several tools and techniques for caregivers to use in emotional situations with their children. Many of these techniques can even be used prior to issues developing. One attendee, Susie Mahoney, commented, “I liked the square breathing technique to use before a test and I’ll use the techniques in everyday parenting, not only for my kids but for me.”
While the adults were occupied, naturalists took the young students for a nature walk through the grounds exploring the snow covered paths, looking for animal tracks, and practicing self-regulation skills. Early childhood guide & naturalist Tracy Niyo asked the students to close their eyes and inquired, “What can you see? What can you smell or taste? What can you hear?” Niyo also gave instructions to the children while they were making snow angels to, “...wrap yourself in a tight ball and then relax your body,” as a soothing tool, and used imagery of a hot cup of cocoa to warm their bodies when they were cold.
The event also included stories at the outdoor classroom read by the Bloomfield Township youth librarian, Patricia Ballard, and hot soup served at the fire pit, courtesy of Aramark Foods made with fresh vegetables from our very own Bowers School Farm.
Mahoney enjoyed the venue stating, “I appreciated the opportunity to have an outdoor activity in the middle of winter for my child.” Stephanie Norsted attended with her daughter, and remarked, “Madeleine really enjoyed hiking and being outside along with showing us her meditation and relaxation techniques. It was worthwhile for the kids and parents.”
BYA continues the speaker series February 23 with “Conflict Resolution'' suitable for caregivers of students in grades K-5, and March 15 with “Raising Digitally Smart Kids, Tweens & Teens'' for caregivers of students in grades K-8.