Upper School Students Enjoy Proactive Stress-Relief Activities and Nourishment During Finals Week

St. Margaret’s Upper School students working through Finals Week got an adorable stress relief on Wednesday, as the Tartan Courtyard transformed into a puppy play yard.

Studies have shown that playing with puppies increases levels of the powerful anti-stress hormone oxytocin, and decreases the stress hormone cortisol. Upper School Peer Counselors were brainstorming a stress-relieving activity options during Finals Week, and eventually decided to bring in 10 puppies for students to interact with during lunch. The dogs were a hit, with Upper School students lined up to have a chance to play with the pups.

The puppy play yard was one of several things implemented to provide stress-relieving outlets and nourishment for students during a week of finals, consistent with the school prioritizing student health and wellness.

The Community Life Commons, a student-centered space, had healthy snacks for final exams sponsored by the PTF, where students could grab oranges, bananas, yogurt, bagels, granola bars and more throughout the days of exam week. Students could also go to the Library for nourishment options as they took a break or prepared for their next test.  

“It’s important that our students know we’re rooting for them to do well and achieve their best,” said Lora Allison, Upper School director of community life. “Creating an environment that is relaxing and has what they need is essential to students knowing we care for them, which in turn is related to positive test outcomes.”
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An independent preschool through grade 12 college-preparatory day school in Orange County, California