Posted on 10/20/2014 at 08:25 AM by Liz Determan
A few years back a teacher was observed using some “yoga” techniques with her children. When asked about using the practice, she stated that, after a year of taking Yoga herself and seeing the benefits, she started to read about how it could support young children’s attention, focus, and social/emotional skills. This teacher approached her Yoga instructor to share some good ideas with her and the instructor actually came to the class to give ideas and model some strategies. The teacher noticed some changes in the children’s approach in the classroom, so she implemented some “time” for relaxing.
In a recent article in Teaching Young Children/Preschool (NAEYC), the author, Lisa Danahy (a certified yoga instructor), states “each person is alive with feelings. On any given day, there are numerous feelings. The brain uses feelings to determine whether you are safe or in danger”. Her article talks about the following aspects: understanding your emotions, regulating feelings, and understanding mindfulness (noticing what is happening around you including sensory experiences as well as thoughts & feelings). Danahy concludes that a teacher’s mindfulness (awareness of what is happening around her) allows her to observe and respond more clearly and adapt as needed to support learning and young children’s social/emotional skills. One key point she makes is that “this act of mindfulness” allows that teacher to be more resilient and successful, BUT also provides a more calm approach for children.
Finally, Danahy uses the following questions to “deepen” reflection related to her entire article:
-Know yourself: How does stress impact your teaching?
-Notice details of children’s competence: How can stress and relaxation
impact what is going on in the classroom?
-Seek children’s point of view: When are children deeply engaged in learning
and what are they learning from their surroundings?
-Consider opportunities and possibilities: What are the times that bring
satisfaction and joy in time with children?
(taken from “Mindfulness for Teachers” by Lisa Danahy, Teaching Young Children, Vol. 8 No. 1)