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Practicing Mindfulness & Meditation at Whale Branch Elementary

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

Peace and tranquility were achieved in the second grade classroom of Ms. Kendra Coffey at Whale Branch Elementary School thanks to a grant from the Foundation that funded “The Mindfulness and Meditation” project. The funds provided by the generosity of the Friends of Callawassie Island were used to purchase yoga mats for the students.

children practicing yoga in a classroom

The project was created with the whole-child in mind as students had the opportunity to participate in mindfulness exercises to increase social-emotional outcomes, lower the need for disciplinary action, and encourage resilience. Ideally, students were to spend 5-10 minutes participating in these activities, however, no two days are alike in second grade! Throughout the duration of the project, Ms. Coffey discovered that some days, students needed more than 10 minutes to regain composure of their emotions. And some days, not as much time was needed. She felt that it was important to read and understand the needs of students, without putting a specific time frame on the process. Regardless of the amount of time spent, students had an individualized, safe, and comfortable space to positively regain composure.


“This was extremely beneficial as we used a time frame directly after recess and lunch, when lots of social interactions were had,” explained Ms. Coffey.

students practicing yoga in a classroom

Prior to having the yoga mats in the classroom, students conducted the exercises on the cold, hard tile floor. When surveyed, 100% of the students responded that the tile was uncomfortable to them. However, once the yoga mats were put into use, 100% of students surveyed said they not only felt more comfortable, but also had more mobility!


Ms. Coffey feels that the inclusion of yoga into the daily routine of the classroom helped students use strategies to overcome big emotions. Students, when surveyed, stated that they were better able to describe the emotion that they were feeling and why. Students also stated that they felt like they had a good grasp on how to use all materials properly and were able to consistently have a “calm body” when using the materials.


Outside of the allotted time for yoga each day, students are encouraged to use the “Calm Corner” (an area of the classroom to de-escalate) when they were feel a “big feeling” (sadness, anger, etc). Students also practiced affirmations to encourage a positive growth mindset. 


a student practicing yoga on a yoga mat

According to research conducted by Harvard Medical School yoga and mindfulness have been shown to improve both physical and mental health in school-age children (ages 6 to 12). Yoga can improve focus, memory, self-esteem, academic performance, and classroom behavior and can even reduce anxiety and stress in children.


Overall, Ms. Coffey “The Mindfulness and Mediation” project was a huge success and she looks forward to incorporating it in her classroom year after year. She also hopes to encourage other educators to use similar activities in daily routines in classrooms across the school. Afterall, who wouldn’t want a more peaceful classroom with more mindful students? We are grateful to Friends of Callawassie Island for funding this program. Namaste...



 

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