Back-to-School: Build Community First – Free Lesson Plan & Video Included!

by | Aug 29, 2015 | K-12 Education, Teachers Featured

first day of kindergartenWith so much to do at the beginning of the school year and so much going on, it’s easy for school staff to get distracted with all the administrative details, exigencies and logistics of just getting classrooms together.

But experienced teachers and counselors know that their first task is to build classroom community – to help students feel welcome, get to know their classmates, share about themselves and build a positive classroom climate that features safety, respect and compassion.

With this foundation teaching is much easier. Students learn better, and school staff has more fun with their work.

Here’s how Iowa elementary school counselor Karah Spahn started off her school year after learning Yoga Calm from our Minnesota-based trainer Kathy Flaminio:

Today I was working in the kindergarten classroom. I’ve done a little get-to-know you activity for the past hundred years, and I did something similar this year. The ONLY difference was that I put a little yoga break in the middle of the lesson.

I began the lesson with the chime and the Hoberman breathing sphere, and then shared a little about me, what I do, etc. Then I had everyone stand up (we were in a circle) and we did Roots, Upward Mountain (thought of someone who was very strong in our lives, what that meant, etc.), Heart Thoughts breath (think of someone you love), and Volcano Breath. Then, we did this again but ended with the hands to our heart and thinking about someone we love. I had the kids cup their hands together, think of that person, gather up all that love, and gently blow it into the middle of the circle. The smiles on their faces were huge!

Then I asked them to sit down and share one thing about themselves. They could say something they like to do, something they did this summer, something they are good at, etc. (In the past, it’s a lot of favorite foods, vacations over the summer, etc.) But, EVERY SINGLE STUDENT shared something or someone they love. (“I’m Sophie, and I love my brother very much.” “ I’m Karson, and I love my grandma and grandpa.”) It was amazing, I almost cried. They were all great listeners, and the energy in the room was so cool.

I just had to share with you because I’ve never experienced such a positive, loving, caring, and CALM energy on the first lesson of kindergarten before!

Yoga Calm is growing across Iowa with other Certified Yoga Calm Instructors, like  Heidi Valdez and Kelly O’berry, reporting similar successes with their students. Motivated by Karah’s experience other teachers at her school have since learned the Yoga Calm curriculum, as well. So now

Josie has 15 minutes of yoga scheduled into her day every day before lunch, Stephanie is doing it before transitions, and Karen is teaching a pose a day. I can’t tell you how excited I am to use yoga this year!

Download these free sample activities from Karah’s lesson plan.

Another great community-building activity is Trust Walk. You can use it in any setting and with all ages to develop mindfulness, trust and to have a little fun! Check it out:


Send us your stories of using Yoga Calm – or share them in the comments below.

To arrange for a trainer to come to your school, contact us – or start learning Yoga Calm now and become a Certified Instructor in the comfort of your own home with our Online Certification Bundle.

Image by Joe Utsler, via Flickr

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