A new school year begins. As the children file in, they are happy to see their friends again, have many stories of summer and are ready to embrace a new teacher. Those of us who are teachers and counselors begin to assess our students and think of all the goals we have for them this year.
We all want to seize that new beginning and create a school environment that will help every student flourish. Setting up positive class routines is one way of focusing that energy, providing a regular rhythm to the days and comforting students with the structure of returning to school.
One excellent way to help establish a general classroom routine is by starting the class with a couple Yoga Calm activities. Just 5 minutes of Yoga Calm can get the group focused, develop a sense of community, energize and de-stress students so that the next 40 minutes of class is productive. It’s like a carpenter spending a few minutes sharpening his saw before beginning work.
At this summer’s inaugural Children’s Wellness Conference – now available in its entirety on DVD – Dr. Jeff Sosne discussed the positive impact of using mindfulness activities to develop healthy attention and learning habits. Among other things, the development of healthy classroom habits and routines, said Dr. Sosne, frees the brain’s executive functions for the process of learning.
Similarly, adding more time for review process and relaxing the brain further supports learning in that we integrate learned material much more effectively during times of rest than extended bouts of additional studying. Rest is very much an academic support! Providing a short 5 minute movement break with a Yoga Calm flow or a guided relaxation, may be particularly effective.
Likewise, using a “brain recess” activity such as the “One Minute Vacation, a good relaxation story or a “Mindful Moment” contemplation periodically throughout the day allows time and opportunity for students to integrate the material they’re learning.
Image by Old Shoe Woman, via Flickr