Monday, December 10, 2018

Why mindfulness matters in the classroom

I felt a sense of peacefulness as I walked across the Kripalu grounds to the main entrance. 
I was going to see Kripalu’s RISE Program in action - a professional development program for Berkshire County Educators, that’s supported by Berkshire United Way. I took my shoes off and entered the space where the session was taking place, noticing that I was surrounded by dozens of teachers, guidance counselors, and other school staff.

The RISE Program gives educators simple, yet effective, tools to manage their classrooms. The Program instructors are Kripalu-trained in yoga, mindfulness, and meditation and offer another important strength – they were once educators themselves. They understand the pressure educators are under and offer insight into ways they can infuse mindfulness and “grounding” techniques into their classrooms. A grounding technique may be as simple as taking a “mindful minute,” or a deep breath in times of stress.

By helping teachers manage their stress in the classroom, we’re able to create a more positive learning environment for students. When a teacher leads a “mindful minute,” in the beginning of their class, both students and teacher can take a moment to regulate their breathing, which helps everyone transition into learning with a clearer mind and better focus. The change from a chaotic learning environment to a positive, mindful one can make a real difference in a student’s ability to learn.

This program is just one way that Berkshire United Way helps meet the needs of young people. If you’re a youth worker or educator, Berkshire United Way offers a range of professional development opportunities to support your work. If you’re interested in learning more, please reach out to me via the contact information listed below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Kat Toomey
Coordinator of Positive Youth Development
p: 413.442.6948 x15

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