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Finding Balance

Helping Kids cope is an important lesson at school

Our kids are bombarded by messages, images, media and other unseen pressures that can cause confusion, frustration and upheavals in behavior.  At school, teachers and administrators can be important resources for students as they face the big bad world. In this year’s annual round-up of private schools in Atlanta, we asked about the resources available to kids to help manage stress of growing up. It’s not easy!

Trinity School
4301 Northside Parkway, NW

“To help manage stress and pressure, I recommend that elementary-aged children talk to their parents, who can help them understand that they do not have to be perfect and that mistakes are a normal part of life; make plenty of time for creative play and outdoor activities; and maintain an adequate sleep schedule and predictable routine.” Erica Pendleton, LPC, School Counselor

Woodward Academy
1662 Rugby Ave, College Park
6565 Boles Rd, Johns Creek

“We know free play is integral to the academic and social success of our students—just take it from our classes who enjoy a quick sprint around the building before solving a tough math problem! Knowing how important physical activity is for young minds, we take our playgrounds seriously. We not only make frequent use of them (our prekindergarten students enjoy recess twice a day, plus a daily P.E. class), but also task our youngest students with a project-based activity to simulate their ideal playground. Our students’ involvement highlights just how much we value their opinions and our playground spaces.” Erica Wiltshire, Primary School Assistant Principal, Woodward Academy

5750 Long Island Drive NW

The Cottage School
700 Grimes Bridge Road, Roswell

In a number of recent studies, students site three main stress points caused by school: academic anxiety, social concerns, and general anxiety. At The Cottage School, our three pillars of strength support the academic, social, and emotional needs of our students. Through small class sizes (no more than 10 students in a class, 4th – 12th grade) and experienced teachers, a vigorous anti-bullying campaign (Be the Voice), and a program that supports our students’ emotional needs (a comprehensive counseling program), TCS provides our school community with the tools and strategies to fulfill their true potential as confident, productive, and independent adults." Lynn Bosworth, Elementary School Principal

“We are lucky to have such a shaded and spacious playground.  It was completely renovated last summer and now includes a 100’ long slide and new equipment specifically designed to support students’ sensory needs and cooperative play. Structures blend with the environment and provide physical fitness as well as fun.  All students have PE or recess every day.” Jon Alden, Head of School

The Howard School
1192 Foster St, NW 

"In addition to regular SPARK breaks throughout the day when students are physically active, many of our teachers also make time for a "mindful moment." Playing soothing music or showing a brief meditative video, often after recess or PE, provides the students with the opportunity to reset and refocus before the next academic class." Sarah Haggerty, Middle School Principal

Atlanta International School
2890 North Fulton Drive

Student stress is ever increasing. Here are three good tips to decompress: 

1) Talk to friends and trusted adults

2) Exercise or physical activity can help release endorphins, (which are the feel-good chemicals in our brain)

3) Take time to do the things you enjoy: investing in a hobby is an investment in yourself! 

Lisa Archibald, Middle School Counselor at Atlanta International School

The Lovett School
4075 Paces Ferry Rd NW

"Stress is normal, but every student’s threshold for handling it is different - so there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution. When stress starts to seem overwhelming, here are some things to consider. Physical wellness: the importance of enough sleep and a healthy diet cannot be understated, as is getting regular medical check-ups. Mindfulness: being present in the here-and-now will help lower your stress response; find a mindfulness technique that works for you, and you may discover that being fully present helps pressure become more manageable. Facing your stressors: the body’s stress response (adrenaline and cortisol) is normal and can help us have the energy and focus to accomplish difficult tasks. Trying to avoid the unavoidable may work in the short term, but it poses risks to how our body manages stress in the long term." Chase Jones, Upper School Guidance Counselor, The Lovett School

Pace Academy
966 W. Paces Ferry Road NW

"Stress—a natural, physical reaction to challenge—can have positive and negative impacts on mental and physical well-being. Successfully managing stress has much to do with how we perceive it. The Pace Academy counseling team recommends that parents model appropriate responses to pressure and mistake-making so children learn to rebound from disappointment and build resiliency. In addition, research recommends "getting off the grid" by reducing screen time, participating in enjoyable outdoor activities, exercising and getting sufficient sleep. Finally, creating a toolkit with self-soothing strategies—mindfulness, restructuring unhelpful cognitive distortions and using sensory objects—may be helpful." School Counselor, Kacy Brubaker

Wesleyan School
5405 Spalding Drive, Peachtree Corners

Wesleyan School believes faith and intellect are great partners with each other. At Wesleyan, it’s not a matter of choosing faith or intellect, but rather using both to create the best possible education for your child. Head of School: Chris Cleveland


We love our neighborhood public schools and try to include them in our coverage throughout the year. Please send school news, story ideas and photos to our editor. Also, calendar and event photos can be uploaded from the links on our website!