Published Sunday, December 16, 2012

Cats will help students cope with anxiety, thanks to Bright Ideas grant

From Staff Reports

education@newnan.com

Newnan Crossing Elementary School students will soon be learning how to cope with anxiety with the help of cats – and a grant from Coweta-Fayette EMC.

Dr. Donna Kreskey, the school’s psychologist, recently got a surprise visit from Mary Ann Bell, EMC’s vice president of marketing, and Wanda Hicks, grant judge, who were on hand to congratulate Kreskey on being selected as a winner of a $1,202.50 Bright Ideas Grant.

The grant will fund Kreskey’s project “Coping Cats: A Plan for Managing Anxiety.”

“With the advent of No Child Left Behind and the Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT), school has become more stressful not only for adults, but also for children,” Kreskey said. “Many children, even those who do well academically, worry when faced with high-stakes testing.

“Children who don’t know how to cope effectively with anxiety may do poorly on these tests, even when they know the content that is being tested,” Kreskey added. “Strategies for managing anxiety can be even more important than test taking strategies for these children to meet standards on the CRCT.”

“Coping Cats” – authored by Phillip C. Kendall and Kristina A. Hedtke – can provide children with the strategies they need to cope with anxious feelings, according to Kreskey, who said the program is an evidence-based and research-supported cognitive behavioral program for children who experience excessive levels of anxiety.

The program is designed to help children recognize when they feel anxious and understand the things that make many people anxious, as well as provide tools to help them manage their anxiety.

Kreskey said she was “very happy” to receive the grant and looks forward to working with Newnan Crossing students using “Coping Cats.”

© 2011 The Newnan Times-Herald Inc., Newnan, Georgia. Any unauthorized use, copying or mirroring is prohibited.