In today's educational system, the differences between Kindergarten and first grade are massive. They go from a potentially half-day program with free choice play into a highly academic full day of non-stop learning. It's taxing on teachers, but even more so on six and seven year olds.
First graders have a very difficult job and it takes special students to be able to handle everything that first grade throws their way.
They overcome obstacles everyday to do their very best. Many of them do not get enough sleep or enough to eat at home and yet they still come to school every day, ready, and willing to learn.
First Graders need to move. In a classroom setting, this is not always the easiest thing to do constructively. We've been experimenting with Yoga and mindfulness in order to combat the "wiggles" and also build a positive mindset and community in our classroom. The atmosphere in our classroom has changed dramatically since we started these practices but we are in need of some resources in order to continue.
In this fast-paced, often chaotic world that most of our students live in, we often seek the opportunity to offer a safe, calm, quiet space for reflection and meditation during our otherwise crazy, academic-heavy schedule.
By having a yoga mat for each child and a variety of yoga and mindfulness resources, we would be able to create a "Zen Den" within our classroom. A yoga mat for each student will be used for daily mindfulness training and classroom yoga in their defined space. We will read the books during our Social Studies time to reinforce a positive mindset and classroom community. The Yoga Cards and spinner will be used during mindfulness lessons and teach kids basic yoga poses.
We can also use these materials for indoor recess.
This type of "Zen Den" space would give children a much needed break from the heavy learning they are doing and create a positive atmosphere in the classroom. We've seen a positive impact at other schools that use yoga and mindfulness daily; we're hoping to have the same effect on our students learning by implementing these practices.
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