Decreasing Stess in Elementary School Classrooms

Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Molly Ziegelstein, Kindergarten Teacher at Fernbrook Elementary School, to discuss how she is using cooperative play to decrease stress in the classroom.

8/6/18 #2156






"Steve Adubato here. You know, one of the great things... one of the many great things about One on One is we speak to the most extraordinary educators anywhere in the state and nation. Yeah, that's you! I'm talking about you! Molly Ziegelstein is a kindergarten teacher at Fernbrook Elementary, based...? Randolph. Randolph, New Jersey? Mm hmm. Now you we're born and raised right in that area? Yep. Succasunna. Can you spell it? S-U-C-C-A-S-U-N-N-A. That's... I'm so impressed. [laughter] You teach kids...? And there are five-ish? Five to six? Times three. [laughter] What? About 15-18 kids per class every year. No, no, I meant age-wise. Oh. [laughter] They're... 15-18... [laughter] We can do this. I swear we can. [laughter] Yep. Five-six year olds. Did you always say to yourself...? Before we run a clip, this is part of our Classroom Close-up... well, the Classroom Close-up initiative produced... and it made... it's been making a big difference in the public television world for many years, with the New Jersey Education Association. We're about to show a clip from you in a minute, but did you always want to be an edu... a kindergarten teacher? Kindergarten definitely was not on my radar, or what I thought of going into the teaching profession, but I did always want to be a teacher. I was surrounded by wonderful educators all throughout my education. And that's definitely why I went into education. Well, this clip you're about to see from Classroom Close-up talks about this initiative... a lot of it's about Choice Time, and dealing with our kids who, at incredibly young ages, are dealing with anxiety, dealing with pressures, dealing with stress... listen, isn't there enough time to do that later on? You know. This is Classroom Close-up. Check it out. Children and playtime. Two images that should go hand in hand when you think of kindergarten. Just one window... My earliest memory of being in kindergarten is coming in, and coloring, and learning how to cut... But the fact is kindergarten has changed quite a bit. Today we're asking children to learn to read, and learn to write, and so much more. There's been just such a shift, I think, from the time that I was in school. I was stunned at the pressure that was put on these little five and six year olds. And that stress on young children can have devastating effects. Research was showing that later in life, these kids that had such pressure at five and six had really, really adverse outcomes, like suicide, and depression, and stress, because they didn't have a chance to be a kid. And so we decided, "How are we going to change that in our district?" And play was the answer. Boys and..."