It may seem like an activity that is meant for gym class, but a third grade teacher has discovered that calming kids with yoga shows them techniques for wellness that will last their entire lives and helps with their overall classroom experience.
When Liz McFarland told a small group of her Silverthorne Elementary students to tell any negative thoughts they had to go away, she was teaching them to let go of distractions and focus on building positive energy. An instrumental version of the Beatles “Let It Be” played in the background.
“Breathe in like you’re smelling a flower. Breathe out like you’re blowing out a candle.”
The students sat in a circle in front of her. She reminded them to sit tall in “strong mountain pose.” They recited their morning pledge while acting the words: “We gather together today to share with one another our strengths and our weaknesses, our successes and our failures, our brilliance and our darkness in order to transform ourselves in order to create a planet of peaceful warriors.”
McFarland offers a six day program at Silverthorne before school. Calming Kids is a combination of yoga techniques along with role playing to end bullying. This is the second year she has taught the program.
She shared a story about when she was in school, and other students teased her by calling her “Lizard”. She then had them play out a skit where a student made different responses to a boy who called his shirt ugly.
“If it’s ever a big deal, if someone is hitting you, should you tell a teacher? Of course. If someone’s using really bad language, should you tell a teacher? Yeah,” she said. “But if someone’s making fun of our shirt or our name, can you try to handle that one on your own?”