The first week back to school can sometimes feel a bit intimidating, but at the Calgary Jewish Academy, the Grade 2 class embarked on a heartwarming journey to tackle their hesitations with bravery, friendship, and self-discovery. As a class they delved into the book Alma & the Worry Stone by S.A. Acosta, an all too familiar story about Alma and her first day at school. This book served as an invaluable tool to teach students how to confront their worries with courage.
The book beautifully captures the universal feelings of anxiety and uncertainty that often accompany new beginnings. Alma grapples with questions that many young children can relate to, such as, “Will I make friends?” and “What will my new teacher be like?”. It’s a heartfelt journey of self-discovery and resilience as Alma learns to face her worries head-on.
The central element of the story, the “worry stone,” plays a pivotal role in Alma’s journey to calmness and bravery. A worry stone is a smooth, polished stone, often with an indentation in the center, that is used as a tool to calm ones nerves. The simple act of rubbing the stone’s surface with one’s thumb can have a soothing effect, helping to alleviate worries and anxieties. In Alma’s case, her worry stone becomes her source of strength as she embarked on the journey of her first day of school.
After reading the book, the Grade 2 class at CJA decided to create worry stones of their very own. Using every colour of plasticine available, students began their creative journey, crafting unique worry stones that resonated with their individual personalities. This hands-on activity not only reinforced the book’s lessons but also provided students with an engaging opportunity to learn more about their classmates and see what makes them both different and the same. An excellent way to build classroom relationships.
The Grade 2 class’s exploration of Alma & the Worry Stone was not just a literary adventure but a lesson in empathy, courage, and resilience. It left a lasting impact on the class, equipping them with the emotional tools needed to navigate challenges that may arise. As the students held their worry stones, they held a piece of wisdom that would serve them well on their journeys ahead—no matter what challenges they may face, they can always find their brave face with the help of a worry stone and the support of their friends and teachers at CJA.