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Grant to allow JES students stress relief

Students in Macey Gentry’s first-grade class will soon have a place to unwind from the stresses of school.

Gentry teaches at Jemison Elementary School and recently received a Bright Ideas Grant from Central Alabama Electric Cooperative for $150 to be used on classroom cool down kits.

The kits will contain materials such as fidgets, stress balls and glitter jars, each of which are designed to help provide a calming outlet for students.

“If they get overwhelmed or too anxious, they [students] can take a quick break,” Gentry said.

According to Gentry, students will be allowed a three to five minute break, during which they would no longer be a distraction for the rest of the class.

She has 16 students in her current class.

“I’ve been around them for several months now, so I can tell when they are getting frustrated with themselves,” Gentry said.

She believes allowing them some time away to decompress and re-focus will not only help them but also allow their fellow students to receive the best academic attention they deserve.

“I know that even as an adult there are points in the day where we just need to take a break,” Gentry said. “We’re go, go, go all day long.”

First graders do not have the established history of being in a structured classroom setting that can come over time.

The grant will pay for all of the necessary materials, and Gentry can re-use the kits from one year to the next.

“I’ve got the money and plan to order it this week,” Gentry said.