I love to stumble across different social language tools to use and I found this great blog post by Maura Fox, SLP, that outlines beautifully why mindfulness aligns so well with Social Thinking concepts. I then happened upon the TPT store, Pink Oatmeal, last week while I was looking for preschool yoga visuals, for a presentation. Beyond my intense curiosity over the name of the store, I was impressed with the variety of thematic yoga and brain break cards for littles that this school based Physical Therapist has created. Her Halloween themed yoga product below is an example and is too cute for words!
One thing leads to another when you are researching, so down the rabbit hole I went finding even more ideas after reading these posts on Edutopia. The concept of teaching mindfulness and breathing aligns beautifully with the Zones of Regulation . I know I benefit from just slowing down and taking a deep breath throughout my day. Our kids are under a lot of stress, and anxiety has skyrocketed in the past ten years in schools. Why not look at a tool that everyone can use to help with emotional regulation throughout our day?
The school based PT behind Pink Oatmeal, Chanda, also has a Youtube Channel and fun blog that shares tons of great ideas on how to build these skills with young learners! In my preschool professional learning day presentation, we talked a lot about teaching our students breathing techniques to help calm themselves. I love this video from Sesame Street that teaches kids how to belly breathe through a sweet song! Feel free to look through my playlist of sounds of nature videos to work on calming down, breathing and even visualizing all the things we can hear. I am using these in my Sunday school special needs class, to help calm my kids as they come into the room.
School also requires our kids to sit and listen for extended lengths of time, but little bodies are wired to move! Mindfulness and movement both have foundations in teaching the language of emotion and listening skills. Joint attention, whole body listening and developing an internal voice versus narrating everything we are thinking about out loud, are skills embedded in these techniques. Cosmic Kids Yoga is another free Youtube channel that offers fun, thematic yoga activities for little people. They have movie themes, animal adventures and even a video with a puppy explaining what the concept of mindfulness is all about.
I know this may feel a bit “woo-woo” to you, but just consider this a minute. Mindfulness is easy to embed in your morning circle or starting time (or end of the day) and is a research based methodology to address attention, emotional regulation, calming and compassion. Our schools are using PBIS to address behavioral expectations and mindfulness is a tool that address all of these skills. Being able to learn techniques to calm our minds and bodies, focus and develop empathy towards others sounds like a win to me, so take a deep, calming breath and let’s give it a go!
Do you use mindfulness or yoga with your students? If not, what are your concerns? Share here!