The School of the Cathedral, a K-8 Catholic school in Baltimore, strives to allow teachers to teach the whole child and gives them the freedom to identify and address the needs of their students. Along with strong academics, special area classes, a modern language program, sports, and spiritual development programs, students’ social and emotional needs are met through initiatives that teachers research and develop. Those programs have a lasting effect.
We met with first grade teacher, Margie Teeters, to learn about needs she’s noticed in her room, and what her school has done to help her to reach her students, and how it’s made a lasting impact.
What does it mean to you to teach the “whole child”?
Teaching the whole child means including social and emotional skills that can help a student reach their full potential, looking beyond just the academics.
What kinds of needs have you seen in your students, and how were you able to bring in or create initiatives or programs to address these issues?
As a teacher, I have seen an increase in expectations of students in the classroom over the years, along with less free time to socialize with each other. In turn, children are more anxious and overwhelmed. Daily meditation in our first grade classroom has become a positive opportunity for the students to let their minds release stress, and focus on peace and calm.
How have your efforts helped your students and families at Cathedral?
Some students enter first grade with high energy and difficulty focusing. Daily meditation has supported each of my students social-emotional and academic well-being as we see an increase in stamina, focus, and academic output. Mediation has been a blessing to our classroom routine! The students feel restored and ready to “reset” for the afternoon, better able to self-regulate their emotional behavior.
I have former students who continue to send me photos of them, taking time out from a trip or event, to meditate. Some are poised on rocks, eyes closed, others saying they have started meditation at home with their family. I am so pleased that this is often their favorite time of day!
In your mind, why does Cathedral stand out from other schools in the area?
As teachers at Cathedral, we are able to try different strategies for helping students regulate their behavior. We can share our experiences and rejoice together when we see the positive results, share ideas, and get advice when needed. Like our classroom, which is a “team” of students, Cathedral is a “team” of educators trying to positively influence their students’ educational and emotional lives.
To learn more about The School of the Cathedral, visit their website.
Editor’s Note: This article is part of our School Spotlight Series. Each week, we spotlight our partner schools to give you a glimpse into what learning looks like on their campus. Images were taken by photographer Jen Snyder. Want to become a school partner? Email us.