Reducing Anxiety Through an Integrated, Ecological Approach in an Elementary School
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Research shows that childhood anxiety is on the rise at every level, from fear of the dark to severe anxiety disorders. As a teacher, I have seen more and more children enter school in September with too much anxiety and fear to enjoy life and achieve academically. Although anxiety is being addressed in many schools, many teachers are insufficiently educated about the signs of anxiety and often are unsure about what to look for in their students. There are many strategies and programs that can be implemented in schools to help decrease anxiety. When children are less anxious learning can occur more naturally and they are more likely to reach their full learning potential. This paper provides a review of literature relating to childhood anxiety disorders and why it is currently important to acknowledge anxiety in the classroom as a classroom teacher. It looks at definitions of anxiety, various programs that have been used to decrease anxiety in children and barriers contributing to reducing anxiety in the classroom. Lastly, I will provide strategies that teachers and parents can employ to decrease anxiety in students and a program the school could implement in kindergarten to help children develop strategies and the skill set to minimize the risks of developing anxiety disorder.