LCS was very fortunate to have mindfulness coach Dave Mochel spend two days with our students, parents and staff last week. After a twenty-year career teaching courses in well-being, leadership and neuroscience in independent schools, Dave founded Applied Attention Coaching and Consulting to help individuals, teams, and organizations focus their attention and energy where it will make the greatest positive difference. Using principles drawn from modern scientific research and enduring wisdom, Dave has had the opportunity to work with leaders, executives, educators, and athletes all over the world.
Dave helped us to kick off Earth Day Intersession Day, leading a group of staff and students through a beautiful meditation outdoors, before participating in our annual sunrise paddle on Lake Katchawanooka.
Following his presentation to staff later that morning, Dave spent the entire day with our school community, connecting with each grade through a series of sessions, helping students learn about the neuroscience of stress and attention, and how the pursuit of comfort and pleasure is, in fact, making us feel more anxious and insecure. He gave students nuggets of wisdom including helping them understand that it is okay to feel discomfort, how we can use our breath to help manage uncomfortable feelings, the importance of practicing mindfulness both when we are feeling good, and when things aren't going well. Most importantly, Dave empowered students to realise how capable they are at being able to handle the challenges that life will inevitably bring.
Dave wrapped up our day addressing the school community outside in The Grove, helping us see our interconnectedness with the earth, with each other, and to the choices and actions we make. He thoughtfully and beautifully brought the many elements of the day together, seamlessly connecting the Lakefield Environmental Action Force (LEAF), Leadership, Character, Values (LCV) and mindfulness initiatives students were engaged in throughout the day.
The Grade 9 students spent the first part of the morning with guest speaker Dave Mochel. Important takeaways for the students were: SLEEP is vital and that mindful self-regulation takes practice! Students spent the remainder of the morning participating in a wide variety of activities to celebrate Earth Day that were planned by the school’s LEAF group.
After lunch, the Grade 9 students were asked to share with their peers how they relate to their top five VIA Character Strengths. In particular, students were challenged to think about a variety of scenarios when they could/should “dial up” or “dial down” their top strengths. Situations that were discussed and shared included: learning in the classroom, when participating in their co-curricular program, and social relationships with their peers and classmates. Gratitude, humour, appreciation of beauty and excellence, love and creativity were some of the strengths that were quite common among many of the students in this cohort.
The Grade 9 students finished off the afternoon down at the waterfront soaking up the warmth and sunshine, while dissecting owl pellets to determine the type and number of prey eaten. The individual results will be compiled and then used in science class to support the unit on Sustainable Ecosystems.
As part of their year-long Leadership Character Values driven exploration of Stewardship, our Grade 10 students divided into three groups and spent the afternoon of the latest Intersession Day working on different initiatives.
One group planned the upcoming "Spring Fun Day" for Big Brothers Big Sisters and cleaned up the LCS campus. Another group painted different components of a mural that will soon be installed on a wall in the LCS Community Garden. The mural was designed by Grade 10 artists, art teacher Angie Zavitz and local artist Victoria Wallace. The third group walked into the village of Lakefield and embarked on a "Kindagious Quest." They endeavoured to "See the Kind and Be the Kind" by performing various acts of kindness such as picking up litter, giving out flowers, buying coffees, writing positive chalk messages, and simply engaging in conversation with local residents of all ages.
Through these projects, the Grade 10s were able to be stewards in action, care for, and give back to the Grove community, the local community and the Earth.
Through the Leadership Character Values theme of Citizenship, our Grade 11s spent the morning collaborating and planning the upcoming Global Literacy Initiative (GLI) taking place May 6-10. Through the celebration of culture and diversity, with a through line of global awareness, our Grade 11s will be hosting our second annual Lakefield International Film Festival (LIFF) and a Global Trivia dinner. Events will also be taking place outside of the Student Life Centre to help encourage global awareness daily. They have also connected activities to the arts with two groups planning a diversity mural and global dance class.
Our Grade 12s spent the morning at a session we call "University Survivor." As students begin to think more about life beyond secondary school, this session engaged a panel of our residential assistants and staff who shared their experience from university. Students were able to ask questions and broaden their understanding about what to expect and get excited about. Although many questions were about classes and academics, many of the takeaways were about how to get engaged, the importance of learning how to manage your time and priorities, and the need for creating a community beyond LCS. Students also worked through three case studies where they had to explore and think critically about how they would navigate these particular situations in a post-secondary environment.
The grads then participated in LEAF activities after lunch and then had an amazing session with David Mochel—a great way to end the day!