The School Yoga Project, a program of Little Flower Yoga, is honored to work with some incredible schools. Each month we will be sharing the story of a school with you, so that we can explore the wide range of options for integrating yoga and mindfulness into your learning community, and celebrate the impact on our kids. For more stories about schools, and ideas for bringing these practices to your own school, see all of our In The Classroom articles. http://littlefloweryoga.com/program/the-school-yoga-project/
Beginning Spring 2013 The School Yoga Project expanded its reach outside of New York City into Westchester and Rockland Counties. Within this expansion we began working with Montebello Road Elementary School in Suffern, NY and our offering was a 6-week program designed to introduce their first graders to the tools of yoga and mindfulness. From the beginning, Montebello’s principal, administration, and teaching staff were enthusiastic, tremendously supportive, and completely dedicated to bringing yoga and mindfulness to their young learners.
The first grade classroom teachers saw how effective the program was with the children so we helped them to expand their activities to support what the children were learning with us. They began utilizing activities like conversation and journaling projects that allowed the children time to absorb and reflect on the themes and activities presented in the yoga and mindfulness program. This helped to reinforce the initiative and gave the kids additional space to explore how they could take these reflective and grounding practices off their yoga mats and out into every day life.
The wholehearted support from the Montebello Road Elementary teachers magnified the impact of the program and created a true partnership.
The program was a huge success and the school began planning how they could continue to work with The School Yoga Project for the 2013-2014 school year.
We are thrilled to continue to offer yoga to about 90 first grade students from the Montebello Road Elementary School. The partnership between the School Yoga Project and Montebello Road Elementary has been rewarding to see unfold. One of the best parts of our partnerships is working with the teachers and administrators at Montebello, as they have been enthusiastic, tremendously supportive, and completely dedicated to bringing yoga and mindfulness to their young learners.
"Over the past two years I have had an extremely positive experience with the Little Flower Yoga program in my 1st grade classroom. Yoga and mindfulness teach the children to be in the present moment and they learn to focus and to calm themselves. The children look forward to our weekly sessions and continue to use the wonderful skills they learned after the program has ended, both in and out of our classroom. It is a positive tool for the children to learn and use in their daily lives." - Jacqueline Triguero
“My class and I loved yoga with Mayuri! They just asked me the other day when we were going to do it again with her! I still use the chime to get their attention. We do the breathing exercises when I feel they need to calm down. It was such a wonderful experience for all involved! Thank you!” - Sally Krawczyk
First grade teacher, Jacqueline Triguero has been instrumental in bringing yoga and mindfulness to her school. Ms. Triguero, along with principal and mindfulness advocate Dr. Teresa Ivey, worked hard to secure a community grant from The Reach Foundation of Rockland County. Their work provided a total of 24 yoga classes at Montebello Road Elementary School in March-April 2014! The mission of The Reach Foundation is to provide funding for the development and implementation of innovative school and community programs. http://www.reachfoundation.org/
This year, we focused on Unit 2 from the School Yoga Project curriculum, “The Physical: How Am I Strong.” This unit focuses on building a foundation of conﬁdence and strength in students. There is emphasis on the physical experiences of yoga and learning more about how our bodies work while exploring how capable they are. Along with the development of physical strength we focus on building inner strength and resilience. Students are introduced to the idea that strength is not only about power but also about ﬂexibility and balance.
The kids have been amazing and the program continues to be such a success. Montebello's classroom teachers support the program whole-heartedly. For example the kids are provided with opportunities to practice using their newly found yoga and mindfulness skills in the classroom. And Montebello’s teachers actually participate in each and every yoga class on a mat with their students. This shows the students that the teachers recognize the value and importance in practicing yoga and the children are able to see there teachers in a whole new way!
Here are some of the responses from a recent journaling activity where students were encouraged to reflect on their experiences with the yoga program.
"I like yoga because yoga is really relaxing. I've learned the half moon pose. Yoga is awesome. Yoga makes me feel relaxed. Yoga is fun! Yoga is the best thing you could think of. I love yoga. Yoga calms you down." - Eli, age 7
"Yoga makes me feel calm and relaxed. It makes me good and happy because it is so awesome. It makes me very relaxed. It makes me very calm too. I learned to balance. Yoga really makes me happy. Yoga makes me very cool!" - Logan, age 6
The School Yoga Project is looking forward to continuing their collaborative partnership and supporting the students and faculty of Montebello Road Elementary School.