WHS implements a Zen Den to help students de-stress during midterms


Photo by Izzy Kofsky

WHS’ new Zen Den

If you are stressed even after visiting the therapy dogs this midterm season, or you want to have a place to relax other than in the hallway outside an exam room, consider stopping by the Zen Den for a quiet space with chill music and plenty of greenery.

With a new grant from the PTSO, the Westfield Education Association and school administration will transform the quiet study room into the Zen Den, a place where students can decompress during midterm exams.

Child Study Team Learning Consultant Jodi Klimko, who spearheaded the project, is invested in making this project come to life.

“It’s a personal interest of mine outside of being a learning consultant; I’ve gone to a lot of workshops about mindfulness and bringing mindfulness into school for kids who suffer with anxiety and students who deal with stress in general,” Klimko said.

The Zen Den has a completely different look from the rows of tables and chairs of the old quiet study room. The walls are covered in fairy lights, artwork and motivational posters, while plants, lamps and wooden signs line the windowsills. A rug with bean bags and pillows sits in the center of the room creating a welcoming environment for students.

There are still some of the old wooden tables and chairs for students to quietly work, but Klimko is planning to replace them with more attractive furniture with the remaining grant money.

While the Zen Den is opening to the student body for the first time during midterms, Klimko has been planning and organizing the project since the beginning of the school year. She plans to bring the Zen Den back in full-force for final exams, but between midterms and finals, Klimko has arranged for the Zen Den to be open during ninth period and after school.

“Since [the quiet study room] is a shared space with Driver’s Theory during second semester, we don’t really have a lot of access to it,” Klimko said. “But we hope that if students are using it and benefiting from the space we can have [the Zen Den] open during lunch periods next school year as well.”