Essex Elementary School opens a new wellness room for teachers, staff members

Whats Right With Schools

ESSEX, Conn. (WTNH) — Essex Elementary School recently opened a new addition to their school, a wellness room. This room is a place where teachers and staff members can take a break from their days and relax. 

Heather Skaanning is a sixth-grade teacher who uses the room and she tells News 8, “As they say, no pun intended, put your mask on yourself before you put it on someone else on the airplane so it’s really about focusing back in and seeing what we need to do for us too.” 

School counselor Marjorie Russell tells us, “Our vision was just to create a space where teachers and educators really could take care of themselves.” 

It’s a place that encourages social and emotional health for teachers. This year has taken a toll on parents, students, administration, but our teachers have had to face the most changes. 

Principal Jennifer Tousignant was adamant about adding the space for the teachers. Believe it or not, they had applied for a grant before the pandemic. They knew years ago educators still needed a break from the daily stressors and tasks, “Self-care so important and in today’s world, with technology, we could be working around the clock.” 

They say, with self-care comes physical, emotional and mental wellness. 

The room was funded by the Essex Elementary School Foundation, they granted thousands of dollars so the room could be added. From zero gravity chairs to yoga mats, even essential oils and herbal teas, teachers are encouraged to use the room as often as possible. 

They even have organized visits from massage therapists to come and provide massages to staff members as part of Wellness Wednesdays.

Skaanning tells News 8 she also participates in spinning classes after school on Wednesdays. The school organized an arrangement with a local spin studio so teachers can take a class together for a discounted price. All of the ideas set in place with one goal, Principal Tousignant says, “If we take care of the adults in the building they will then take good care of the children.”

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