Who knew that just a few short years of education could have such a major impact on children? Elementary school encompasses some of the most transformative years in a child’s life. For that reason, it is important that educators continue to help minimize stress and maximize happiness. Which is just what Kindergarten teacher Molly Ziegelstein of Fernbrook Elementary School in Randolph is doing.

To spread the word about her cause, Ziegelstein visited the set of One-on-One with Steve Adubato. Together, the two discuss how teachers are using cooperative play to decrease stress in the classroom.

Molly Ziegelstein Helps Students of Fernbrook Elementary School Learn Through Play

Ziegelstein has been developing innovative teaching methods since first starting at Fernbrook Elementary School in Morris County. Her different approaches to early education help her provide nearly stress-free environments for her students. What is particularly interesting, however, is that she never set out to become an early education instructor.

Molly Ziegelstein Fernbrook Elementary School Helps Kids Reduce Stress
Thanks to The Nicholson Foundation and Right From The Start NJ for making this video possible.

“Kindergarten definitely was not on my radar, or what I thought of going into the teaching profession,” she says. “But I did always want to be a teacher. I was surrounded by wonderful educators all throughout my education. And that’s definitely why I went into education.”

Elementary school has become progressively more difficult over the years. Moreover, it is likely to continue becoming increasingly difficult as we accelerate the learning requirements of younger generations. As science, technology and everyday tasks become more complex, curriculums will need to become more comprehensive. Therefore, the stress levels of even five and six-year-old students are much higher now than previous young learners. Stress on young children can often have devastating effects.

“Research was showing that later in life, these kids that had such pressure at five and six had really, really adverse outcomes, like suicide, and depression, and stress, because they didn’t have a chance to be a kid,” said Ziegelstein. “And so we decided, ‘How are we going to change that in our district?’ And ‘play’ was the answer.”

Want to learn how the Randolph school district is using playtime to facilitate academic and mental growth in students? Then don’t miss this edition of One-on-One with Steve Adubato.

After that, click over to our Hot Topics in NJ series for more stories that impact New Jersey residents.


  • Hero (Top) Feature Image: © One on One with Steve Adubato / Caucus Educational Corporation
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