A Moment of Zen Aromatherapy at Mt. Washington Elementary School


In January, while our brave teachers and students were striking in the pouring rain, we calmly cheered them on from inside our cozy classrooms with garden aromatherapy.

Sitting in a circle on a blanket, we identified stuff that cause us to feel stress in our lives.  Children shared candid examples of their personal fear & stress.  Everyone had an opportunity to share anything from taking a test, to being hurried out the door when late or when someone; parent, teacher, or friend, yell at us.  Not getting enough sleep, feeling hungry and hangry.  When a friend was unkind.  We all agreed, we all feel stress in our lives.

Together we all took in a big deep breath, letting it out slowly.  We repeated, taking in a big deep breath while shaking our arms, legs and wiggling our toes. Then we took in one more big deep breath.

I presented a possibility, asking the children if they would like to learn a simple new way to calm their nerves?  Met with a resounding YES!  I told them certain plants in the garden called, herbs also known as nervines with different scents, might help to calm their nerves. These herbs might not make our stress completely disappear, but they could certainly help calm us. 

This time we breathed in freshly harvested rosemary, lavender and lemon balm. The children talked about how the leaves felt in their hands, describing color, texture and how the herbs smelled.

We experimented with two different ways to create our aromatherapy projects. Children tied freshly cut lavender and rosemary together with colorful ribbon.

We also created artful aromatherapy with linen drawstring bags.  Children colored the linen bags with markers then stuffed dried herbs inside. Sitting in a circle together on our blanket we took in another big deep breath of our herbs.

Children adored this fresh new feeling of relieving daily stress with a simple breath of herbal aromatherapy while learning a small, yet powerful tool for self care. Together, we created blissful calmness and balance.

Children and teacher’s assistants present for the aromatherapy garden class during the Teachers strike loved this session, talking about it for weeks afterward.

Ahhhh, A moment of pure Zen Aromatherapy. Ommmmmm

Lisa Friedman York

Proudly inherited my green thumb and love of gardening, growing & eating vegetables from my mama, a landscape architect, my grandmother & great grandfather all from Savannah, Georgia. My mama said she designed gardens to make the world a peaceful, beautiful place to sit and day dream or picnic and take a nap. Planting edible gardens with children is a joyful experience. Watching children explore, learn & grow while seedlings germinate reaching for the sky reassures me the earth is in good hands for future generations. My little girl Maya, LOVES to eat green veggies including kale, chard, spinach, bok choi and lettuce. Thank Goodness for Gardens.

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