Yoga and mindfulness in schools is a developing field.
The growing research that shows evidence for the effectiveness of these contemplative practices is beginning to move the field forward.
While there are many schools of all kinds integrating yoga and mindfulness skills into their curriculum, there are less schools bringing the practices (aimed at developing focus, emotion regulation and pro-social behaviors) to a school wide capacity on a regular basis.
Further, even fewer schools have yet to employ teachers as full time yoga and mindfulness staff.
Most yoga and mindfulness curriculum brought to schools is through the passion and dedication of outside providers either partnering with schools or training classroom teachers.
One school in NYC is doing it a different way though.
Kelli Love is a full-time yoga and mindfulness teacher at Girls Prep Bronx-Elementary. She’s employed specifically to bring these skills to all students.
The school has a yoga room where all students practice once a week. Younger grades receive the curriculum three to five times a week. Once a month, families participate in family yoga night. The community council (their version of PTA) practices mindful breathing at the beginning of meetings. In these ways, the practices have begun to take hold as part of the school culture and have become pervasive in the entire school community.
As in inquiry into the depth of impact, Kelli created Aliza and the Mind Jar with Ethan Goldwater from Hover, Inc.
The short film is told from the perspective of one of the parents at Girls Prep Bronx Elementary. It shows how the yoga and mindfulness practices taught at school can spread and transfer to everyday life, building an environment of resilience for an entire school culture.
The film explores the unique angle of the teacher’s role, as part of the school staff, developing relationships with students and families every day.
Please watch this 8 minute short film and be inspired by Zarida, parent of six-year-old Aliza, as she tells the story of the pioneering yoga and mindfulness program at Girls Prep Bronx Elementary.
The film brings an important message to stake holders in education and raises questions for ways we can continue to bring yoga and mindfulness to schools.
Author: Kelli Love
Apprentice Editor: Brandie Smith/Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Screen Shot from “Aliza and the Mind Jar.”