There are tons of strategies floating around to keep students in their chairs, with some teachers pushing the boundaries of child abuse in their harriedness to keep the kids still. But what if fidgeters were allowed to reign free? Amazingly, The NY Times has a story about new “adjustable-height” desks that allow kids to stand and shimmy around all day while they learn! And the teachers are finding their students to be more attentive by embracing the natural fidgetry and allowing the kids to decide for themselves whether to sit or stand. Wow, if only they had these stand-up desks at our dinner table growing up. Could not keep our heinies in the chair! (but who’re we kidding, we still can’t really).
Speaking of kids on the move, another piece in the Times highlights the key ingredient to learning in the classroom: everyone’s favorite subject, recess! Walks outdoors and physical activities have been shown to improve students’ concentration and focus, and even helping to quiet the fluctuations of ADHD. The theory is that, as humans, we experience “attentional fatigue” – and let us add that it’s compounded by a million in the age of the interwebs and mobile technology (did you just update your tweets?) So we can fine-tune the “directed” attention like concentration needed to complete a math problem by getting our wiggles out outdoors in nature. Any of this sounding familiar to the YogaDorks out there? Directed attention? “Distractedness”?
So it’s funny we should come across all this today since we were about to write a post about kids yoga in schools. We’ve mentioned teachers trying yoga in the classroom, or incorporating yoga balls, and even the big to-do among parents concerned about using the word “yoga” for the exercises.
Here are just a few more recent examples of teachers finding the benefits of bringing yoga into the classroom.
Pittsford, NY: Yoga teacher helps school become ‘fit, relaxed, empowered’ Yoga teacher Heidi Kaufman has trained 80 staff members -including the principal – of French Road Elementary in the YogaKids program. Armed with yoga kits, teachers are encouraged to use yoga as a “springboard” for creativity. [read more]
Severna Park, MD: Severna Park Elementary offers after-school yoga as part of the Educational Enrichment Program. Says the PTA spokeswoman, “We were interested in yoga because of its relaxing nature as opposed to more competitive activities. In addition, it’s a way of getting kids to exercise after school.” Believe it or not, the program was started in response to parent requests. [read more]
Knoxville, TN: Yoga Program Started in Kindergarten is set to track students’ progress into 5th grade. Now in its second year, an experimental weekly yoga class is already producing improvements in focus, but not without some heated debate from the peanut gallery. Check the flurry of comments on this one. It gets full into the Satan talk. [read more]
The 3 R’s? A Fourth Is Crucial, Too: Recess [NY Times]
Students Stand When Called Upon, and When Not [NY Times]
Isn’t it great to see stories in main stream media on a regular basis about how yoga and meditation are being taken up in schools – and showing positive results.
I am often shocked though by the comments that often follow these stories, as you mention some parents are very defensive about it as a Hindu religious practice, an assumption with little substance.