I have been on a mission to positively impact educational settings using the Next Generation Yoga Cards for School-Based Educators as a tool to help administrators, teachers and students. I had the privilege of doing this at an elementary school in Michigan this year and I am here to tell you about it!
More and more students are coming to school with stress that is affecting their ability to cope & learn. Teachers are given curriculum and are experts on how to deliver instruction but what happens when students can’t stay focused? In reality, many students come to school tired and hungry, and many struggle with sitting still. Teachers need strategies to help kids express themselves in appropriate ways so their needs can be met. The beauty of the Next Generation Yoga Cards for School-Based Educators is that it easily allows teachers to take a few minutes throughout the day to implement quick breaks based on the needs of an individual student or classroom. It’s like pressing a reset button for teachers and students.
At the start of the school year administrators, teachers, & support staff were trained in the first phase of the Next Generation Yoga Teacher Training for School-Based Educators and had ongoing professional development throughout the year. During the implementation, administration created a calming room in the school that incorporated the Next Generation Yoga Cards for School-Based Educators, and some teachers created this space in their room as well. Teachers implemented what they’d learned into their daily routines to support a positive classroom environment, to build relationships and meet individual student needs. Students were able to apply what they’d learned during their school day AND at home.
This implementation allowed teachers to create a climate in their classroom that was about the whole student instead of just focusing on the academics. Amazingly, it didn’t require a lot of time, but it did allow relationships to be built and, coping strategies to be taught. It also created a place where students felt nurtured and supported.
For example, one morning a teacher was doing the One Word Check-In activity from the NGY card deck. This activity invites students to notice how they feel in their body and/or mind and to think of one word to describe that feeling. Then, they share their word with the group one at a time. During the activity a student shared that he was “worried”. Later, the teacher followed up with him and he shared that he was worried because his family doesn’t always get him to school on time to eat breakfast. The teacher was then able to assure him that his breakfast would always be saved and waiting for him at whatever time he got to school.
This is just one example that clearly illustrates how teachers can make a world of difference in the daily life of a child with minimal effort and planning. Hooray! Small change for big gains!
Sadly, some children are not dealt the easiest hand in life and while teachers may not be able to change their student’s circumstances they can teach them strategies to help them feel valued, calm, and focused. I truly believe that in education we need to look at the whole child, and by incorporating the Next Generation Yoga Cards for School-Based Educators, this Michigan elementary school is on its way to doing that!!!! This is why I am head over heels in love with this NGY program; it really does have a positive impact! It doesn’t cost a lot or take a lot of time but it will make a difference in the life of a child.
Have you implemented the Next Generation Yoga Cards for School-Based Educators program in your school? Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.
Michelle Marcellin has a BA in Special Education, a Masters in Administration and has worked in the school setting for 19 years. Her experience ranges with children from Kindergarten to 9th grade as a Special Education Teacher of severely emotionally impaired children, a Program Associate and an Academic and Behavioral Coach.
With high demands on educators, Michelle recognized and researched how social emotional techniques could be brought into schools in a quick and effective way to positively influence the school climate & culture. She has partnered with the highly established company, Next Generation Yoga (founded in 1998) and their School-Based Educator Teacher Training program.
Michelle is a licensed Next Generation Yoga School-Based Educator Trainer and is proud to merge her educational expertise to offer Professional Development to help facilitate a collective action for all school stakeholders, in school data support & social emotional strategies for schools.