Reading Our Way to Wellness

As a school, we emphasise the need for academic and emotional balance so that students and teachers can better manage commitments inside and outside school. ‘Wellness Week’ at YCIS Shanghai is one of the ways to prioritise wellbeing and wellness within our community. We encourage all students—from K2–Year 13—to engage in mindful, calm activities and to foster a balanced lifestyle comprised of hard work and intentional leisure. The habit of reading also has proven long-lasting benefits for children. We recognise this through our annual 'Book Week' with activities to encourage the love of books and reading.  

Ms Tania Jordan, Teacher Librarian and Extended Essay Coordinator at YCIS Pudong said,
 

Research shows that the ability to read and comprehend what we read is a signifier of academic success. However, parents and teachers know that reading does so much more than this. If there is a sensitive issue at home or in the classroom, sharing a book about it is the first tactic that parents and teachers often turn to, even in this day and age. Books, thankfully, are there to help explain, answer, connect, and delve deeper into topics taught at school.

Students participated in a number of activities during Book Week. One example was author Andy Rash and storyteller Karen Golden sharing their works virtually with children at both Pudong and Puxi campuses, captivating them with their interactive stories. Another highlight of the week was 'Buddy Reading,' where children from higher and lower year levels built bonds and met to share stories. Children across the campuses also enjoyed wearing their pyjamas to school for the day, taking a break from usual classroom activities to cosy up and hear and read some great stories.

Ms Jordan explained,

With busy and productive school days, including CCAs that extend the day even further, it is challenging to find extra time simply to enjoy books and storytelling. Book Week allows us as parents and teachers to make space within the timetable for simply reading and sharing books and stories.

On the final day of Book Week, children in ECE and Primary at YCIS Pudong and Primary at YCIS Puxi came to school dressed as their favourite book characters, embodying the fun and joy of reading and developing a life-long, healthy habit.  

Even the parents were given the chance to learn more about the impact that reading can have on children’s development. The YCYW Parent Webinar Series on Thursday night of this week, involved an international educator and author, Rebecca Bellingham who shared her reading tips with parents.  If you missed the webinar, you can use the same QR code to continue to access the webinar after the event. 

Meanwhile, activities throughout Wellness Week aimed to enhance the wellbeing of all members of the YCIS community and provide knowledge and resources for exploring wellbeing for each child. For example, teachers in Pudong campus led guided mindfulness sessions, bullet journaling, “wellness anthems” played through YCIS FM, “Relax and Read” session in pyjamas, parent workshops and resources for exploring topics such as “gratitude” and “thought reframing”. Meanwhile, Puxi campus also raised awareness to self-care and wellness activities, for example, Mindful Monday, Thank you Tuesday, Walk n' Roll Wednesday, Training Thursday and Funky Feelings Friday. 

Ms Laura Muir, YCIS Pudong School Counsellor and Child Protection Officer said,

We know students better experience success when they have grit, flow, and resilience, and all of that comes from mental wellness. Support from loved ones and finding space for mindful activities predicts higher academic achievement. 

Ms Jana van Zyl, YCIS Puxi Head of Student Support and Child Protection Officer also mentioned,  

We believe wellness exists when a child’s developmental needs are consistently met in the following areas: physical health and safety, emotional health and safety, social competencies, mental health and safety, intercultural and global citizenship, spiritual health and safety, learning and character development. It is important for students to have a balance in these areas so that they can learn. If they are struggling in one of these areas then learning is harder and they cannot retain information or focus on their learning.

To fulfil our principles and practices, our educators must engage in activities that develop each child emotionally, academically, and socially. By dedicating time to explore wellbeing and reading with our students, teachers, and parents, we promote the importance and encourage growth in these areas.

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