How Laurel Hillers Energize Their Day Without “Burn-Out”

What is this fantastic “It” that Laurel Hillers say relaxes, calms, makes the whole body feel refreshed and peaceful, increases enthusiasm, reduces clutter, and even raises confidence? Is it something exotic, something costly, or something attainable only through extraordinary means? Well, here are all the tools you need to begin crafting your very own “It” at home: some play dough, a squishy rubber duck or other squeezable friend, a melodic chime of any shape, and perhaps a feather and some soft sweet scents, if you are so inclined. You will be applying your tools in activities such as, Rainbow Breathing, Ocean Breath, Breathing Anchor, Play Dough Stress-Out, Rockabye Ducky, and more. Or forget the tools and even the ‘games’. Innovate with light, breath, movement, and pleasing thoughts. And then you will soon experience Mindfulness – the “It” that has given so much to our boys and girls every day at Laurel Hill.

Mindfulness Throughout The Day

It’s a time to declare high value to critical but elusive achievements that are usually not recognized, measured or awarded in most schools. And it’s fun! Just take a look. Here’s one example of a mindfulness exercise in Ms. Bond’s 3rd grade class with student comments to follow.

“I Heard Birds Chirping”

“Okay boys and girls,” Ms. Bond begins. “Pick your favorite squishy owl, stretch out with your back to the carpet, and place your owl on your tummy. Close your eyes if you like and let’s begin to slowly take deep breaths together. Feel your owl friend go up
and down with each breath – careful that owl doesn’t fall.

Now rock your owl to sleep. Rise now and take a deep, deep breath. Stretch out your arms and legs. And take a deep breath again. How do you feel?” Some student remarks: “Makes me feel happy! I heard birds chirping. I heardnature all around me. Helps me with hard times. It unstressed my heart. My body feels refreshed. I feel focused.” And I say, “Wow!”

Expanding The Learning Environment

Mindfulness at Laurel Hill happens throughout the day. Kindergarten to fifth-grade practices before reading and mathematics sessions and at the start of each visit to a specialist. Middle school students do mindfulness exercises at the beginning of each subject period. We are finding more and more that our children continue to practice at home, and report utilizing mindfulness exercises when in a stressful situation – during oral surgery, distracting noises or activities, studying for tests, and sibling conflicts are examples.

Children’s Experiences 

“I feel happy!” said a barely 5-year-old kindergartener. Another child in the same class thought about it all and added, “I’m glad, too. It made me feel better.” A second grader reflecting on the very same “It” agreed. He said, “Sure helps me when I feel crazy. Gets me to be relaxed and focused.” A fourth-grade student toned in, “It clears my head, reduces my stress, and helps me concentrate on my work.” “Why”, said a middle school child, “it even helps me to not get upset when my little sister does something awful. I just do it and I then know that things are not as bad as I thought.”

Here is some interesting research that validates the efficacy of Mindfulness in several non-obvious ways: 

(The) body of scientific research illustrating the positive effects of mindfulness training on mental health and well-being—at the level of the brain as well as at the level of behavior—grows steadily more well-established: It improves attention, reduces stress, and results in better emotional regulation and an improved capacity for compassion and empathy. Brain imaging studies at Harvard and Mass General Hospital have shown that long-term mindfulness training can help thicken the cortical regions related to attention and sensory processing, and may offset thinning of those areas that typically comes with aging. Mindfulness is widely considered effective in psychotherapy as a treatment not just for adults, but also for children and adolescents with aggression, ADHD, or mental-health problems like anxiety. 

Education reformers have long maintained that there is a fundamental connection between emotional imbalance and poor life prospects. As Paul Tough argued and popularized in How Children Succeed, stress early in life can prompt a cascade of negative effects, psychologically and neurologically—poor self-control and underdeveloped executive function, in particular. The U.S. education system’s focus on cognitive intelligence—IQ scores and academic skills like arithmetic—undermines the development of equally vital forms of non-cognitive intelligence. This type of intelligence entails dimensions of the mind that are difficult to quantify: It is the foundation of good character, resilience, and long-term life fulfillment. It is this part of the mind that mindfulness seeks to address.

-When Mindfulness Meets The Classroom, The Atlantic Magazine, August 31, 2015

Congratulations To Our Walt Whitman Poetry Contest Winners!



Click Here To See What Happens At Laurel Hill School Every Week

Click Here To Register For Summer Camp

LHS is a recognized New York State private school, located in Suffolk County, Long Island.





Parent Bravos

Here is a small sample of some of the  beautiful comments from our Parents

From a 6th Grade Parent:

Dear Mr and Mrs Stark,
And all our wonderful LHS teachers! We want to support all parents in sending our deepest gratitude for giving our kids some sense of normalcy during these very challenging times.
It’s very important for us to know that while my husband, as many other ICU doctors and nurses, are fighting every day with this vicious disease, our children can still follow their routine, learn, and communicate with their teachers and friends. It helps us, parents, and it definitely helps kids to continue their growth as individuals.
I see excitement in (our daughter’s) eyes when she is getting ready for school in the morning, when she is running to the printer to get an assignment, or just talking to her friends during breaks.
Thank you so much to every single one of you!

From a 3YR Old Parent:

“We wanted to say thank you for accommodating the preschool families with the tuition suspension during this time.
We are also amazed (and truly grateful) that the zoom on- line learning format is continuing despite the circumstances.
I know this is not an easy time for businesses, organizations etc. If there is anything at all we can do to help the school during this time or once we return, please let us know. Maybe a fundraiser or maybe there is something we can do for our individual teachers. Just brainstorming…
Finally, some thoughts as we’ve entered week 3 of zoom/on-line learning. It’s been such a wonderful experience participating in our kids’ learning! Yes managing working from home and helping with homeschool can be exciting… but I’ve enjoyed seeing firsthand how dedicated our teachers are to not only teaching and providing additional resources to enhance learning, but also doing it with such great enthusiasm.
 There’s a great sense of community and collaboration between administration, teachers and parents, and it is evident that our main goal is how to make this experience the best it can possibly be.
How lucky are we to have such amazingly dedicated teachers in our kids’ lives! How blessed are we to be part of the
Laurel Hill family!
In the midst of chaos you have given us a sense of normalcy and we are genuinely appreciative of all your efforts.


As Charles Dickens famously observed…
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . .
it was the season of darkness,
it was the spring of hope . . .
We at Laurel Hill live “the best of times” every day because we are blessed by the beauty, by the serene innocence, and by the precocity of our boys and girls.
We at Laurel Hill live “the best of times” every day for the blessing of totally dedicated teachers and support staff who clearly know why they selected to do what they do in career and in life and give, and give, and give tirelessly to fulfill their greatest ambitions for their children’s growth and well being.
We at Laurel Hill live “the best of times” because we are blessed to have families joined with us to support and to build – partners in turning great ideas into great accomplishments, partners ready to share their skills and to help in the work that needs to be done.
Ms. Bond’s Zoom Classroom
Never in my teaching career would I have thought that I would need to teach elementary class via online classes. Yet, here we are in uncertain times, teaching in a media platform that is geared towards the children of this generation.
As apprehensive as I was before the first day of Zoom (I woke up a number of times during the night like it was my first day of school!), I now feel energized and excited about what we are able to do with the Zoom program. I’ve found that I’ve been able to keep most of my teaching the same as when it is a live class! In Reading, we’ve done an author study and vocabulary work in just three days! I am so proud of how much hard work my students continue to do while they are at home!
I hope this email finds you well and safe. I have been thinking about you & Mr. Stark often and must first apologize for the time lapse in reaching out to express my deepest gratitude. I can’t believe that we have just completed 3 weeks of successful and engaging remote learning. Your steadfast leadership at the onset of this crisis was inspiring. As this crisis turned into a nationwide tragic pandemic, your engaging and detailed remote learning program did not waiver. In fact, it strengthened! Our children were the lucky ones to maintain a sense of normalcy with their routine schedule and engaging “live” classes with all of their treasured teachers and classmate friends.