During the 2015-16 school year, the Calm Moments Cards program was implemented by Sarah Kolic, OTR/L, Alisa Deininger, OTR/L and Denise Young, COTA/L in two school districts1 in northern Ohio. Susan Bazyk, PhD, OTR/L served as the lead researcher along with assistance from her OT graduate students.2 Following Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from Cleveland State University, 93 school personnel were recruited to and participated in the study.
Type of study: A mixed methods design involving quantitative and qualitative data was completed. Data included pre- and post-surveys measuring changes in knowledge, beliefs and actions related to minimizing stress and anxiety and promoting positive mental health in students and final written reflections regarding the meaning and benefits of the program.
"I have learned ways to recognize anxiety and helpful ways to build in movement and relaxation strategies into my student's day. I have found that this promotes time on task, focus, and engagement."
"A few 'calm moments' can create many more moments of productivity."
"I've seen first-hand how students are benefitting when these activities are put in place."
"This program is a great tool to provide useful, accessible, and easy to implement strategies."
Participants: A total of 93 school personnel implemented the Calm Moments Cards program and took part in this study during the 2015-16 school year. School personnel included general education teachers, special education teachers, para-educators, administrators and related service providers). Participants received and orientation to the program with follow-up coaching by the occupational therapists over 4 months.
Results: Statistically signi cant improvements (p < .00-.03) in pretest–posttest scores of knowledge, beliefs, and actions related to minimizing stress and anxiety and promoting positive mental health in students were found. Qualitative findings suggest that participation in the program was both meaningful and enjoyable resulting in enhanced awareness of signs of stress and anxiety, the situational stressors that evoke a stress reaction, and the implementation of embedded strategies for reducing stress and anxiety.
Conclusion: The Calm Moments Cards program expanded school personnel knowledge, promoted con dence, and resulted in enhanced awareness of signs of stress and anxiety and application of embedded strategies for reducing stress and anxiety and enhancing emotional well-being in all students.
1 School Districts: Lake Local Schools and Aurora City School District
2 Kelsey Bobek OT/S, Meaghan Campbell OT/S, Marisa Hammond OT/S, Ariella Schabes OT/S, Gina Solitro OT/S