The Walden Room is open

The latest transformation in the ESA Library is ready to open.  One of the rear seminar rooms is now going to be known as The Walden Room.

Freshly painted, with a beautiful Zen-inspired black and white mural painted last year by (now) Grade 10 Visual Art student Michelle Su, the inspiration for the room can be found in this article (archived) from the Globe and Mail.

The article speaks to the value of having a quiet space in your home – or, in this case, the school – where anyone who needs can go and find a tranquil space to quiet themselves down, or just take a time out to meditate, or settle themselves…  generally do what they need to do to help themselves find their centre amidst the busy-ness of life.  Intended as a place for quiet contemplation, this space is also going to be designated as a prayer room.

Our weekly mindfulness sessions, which are already held in the Library, will be moving into this space – when the weather doesn’t allow for them to take place in the little courtyard (the renovation of which is another prong in this project, being led by members of SEEDS Me to We).

This room is part of a suite of Wellness Initiatives here at ESA.  These include:

•    weekly mindfulness sessions for Staff and students;
•    yoga club;
•    Final Friday Fun Days in the Library – where we go tech free and engage in activities and events designed to promote and encourage mental health and wellness.
•    a Special Collection in the ESA Library dedicated to Health and Wellness (follow the collection development here)
•    Pick-up sports offered daily in the gym at lunch-time
•    Student services open before school, at lunch, and after school
•    School based Social Worker (SW) here every Thursday…  (we’ve had the same SW here for a couple of years now and she and the students really get on well)
•    Workshops delivered by our school SW with the assistance of guidance counsellors
•    Pursuit Of Wellness (PoW), a student driven wellness group whose focus is to empower students with options to manage stress and to educate them on healthy living
•    Equity Group and Social Justice course – fostering education and student engagement both in the school and the community
•    Guidance assisting students to access community-based agencies, such as Stonegate CHC, Breakaway, Oolagen, and Youthdale
•    A Personal Fitness course, in which the emphasis is on the connection between physical and mental health
•    A variety of clubs and sport teams to support physical and mental well-being

The signage to identify the room, and to explain what the room is all about, is in production.  When the last few accessories are in place, as well as the signage, we will be holding a dedication ceremony in honour of Elizabeth Varma, the ESA Grad (2003) in whose memory the room is to be dedicated.  Invitations will be sent at that time.

For now, it’s time to open the room.