our school district just started this. according to my 2nd grader, it makes her want to fall asleep. some parents and teachers have concerns about teaching this as a "mind clearing" thing. do you have any experience with it?
also, it seems to me that the school could accomplish the same of a more "calm" classroom by giving the kids a 1/2 hour recess instead of the measly 10 minutes that the kids currently get per day.
any thoughts on this?
I've been in classes that did a few minutes of yoga or breathing as transitions between learning activities. Most children are calmer, more focused, and more ready to learn after these types of things.
What, exactly, are they doing? How long are they spending on it? What kind of training did the teachers get? What is wrong with helping students clear their minds before starting something like math?
It does sound like more recess is needed at your DD's school. At the school where I work, it varies by grade, but even the 5th grades have quite a bit every day (nearly an hour, broken into 3 recesses). So I agree with you that more recess is good and necessary, however, it isn't my experience that it effects all children the same way.
For a lot of kids, recess just hypes them up more. For kids with social challenges, it is often frustrating and upsetting, and there is an overlap between kids with LDs and kids with social challenges. Taking recess away is the primary form of discipline in many schools, so kids with impulse control issues, who are some of the students most likely to benefit from calming activities, are the kids least likely to consistently get recess.
I see a lot of value in helping students become calm and focused, and teaching children how to calm themselves down using tools like breathing.
but everything has pros and cons
My kids have not gone to school at those ages (we've homeschooled until they were older), but I have seen calming and mind-clearing exercises used very effectively, almost miraculously, in various programs and classes they've attended over the years, from violin group classes to nature & science day programs, to aikido classes.
It sounds like in your dd's case there's a big need for more time for physical activity. I think some kids get most over-stimulated when they are under-exercised and are given brief periods of unstructured time. But honestly, modern North American schools are very unlikely to incorporate optimal levels of physical activity into their days. Even with longer recesses, they're unlikely to reach the recommended minimum of 60 minutes of daily physical activity -- with some kids being best served by considerably more than that minimum. Given that reality, I would think that learning to clear one's mind and shed some of the over-stimulation of the classroom environment would be especially important.
Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up
Yes, expending energy by running around at recess and learning to calm/center yourself are totally different things, and valuable in different ways. I think it's good that schools are working on teaching emotional intelligence skills like this, though I agree that recess should be longer.
(At the same time, I'm wary of public schools doing anything that closely resembles hypnosis. Which I have no idea whether this particular program does or not.)
DS born 6/03, DD1 born 9/06, DD2 born 10/10, DD3 born 4/14.