As an educator, you know your classroom best, which means that you know what tools you need to create the most supportive environment for your students, and for yourself. Much of the time however, decisions made for your classroom are beyond your control, particularly when a budget is involved. Many teachers come to our team at Yoga Ed. faced with this predicament. They know that mindful movement tools — such as yoga breathing, poses, and relaxation — could have a profound impact on their students’ social emotional development and learning readiness, but there is no clear path for them to get these tools into their school.
That’s where we can help.
With over 15 years of experience implementing yoga programming in schools, Yoga Ed. has resources and insight to help you get your own program up and running. And because we’re built by teachers and for teachers, we understand the unique role teachers can play in championing new initiatives. This toolkit will help you take small steps toward big change, by giving you tips and resources to approach your administration and build a robust mindful movement program. Let’s get started!
1. Make your classroom a seedbed for mindfulness.
First things first, take matters into your own hands. You don’t have to spend any money to make mindfulness a part of your daily routine, and you can better demonstrate the practicality of bringing mindfulness by showing your peers and admins how it works in your classroom. Designate a special space as a mindfulness corner for your students, and give them ample opportunities to move and breathe. It’s also important to remember that mindfulness isn’t a commodity — it’s a practice. Prioritizing your own mindfulness practice will help you embody it for your students as well.
2. Find an ally.
Team up with like-minded colleagues or parents (even the PTA!) to gain support across your school campus. Parents in particular can be powerful allies in getting administrative buy-in, and can be some of your best advocates. Share what you’re doing, and what your goals are, with your students’ families, making sure to explain the ‘why’ behind the work. Of course, you may not get support from 100% of your parents, but it doesn’t take much to get momentum going!
Encountering resistance from parents? Check out our Guiding Principles for a short and sweet response for concerns about yoga.
3. Do your research.
Across research disciplines, evidence is showing that mindfulness is a great tool for supporting academic performance, physical health, and social and emotional wellness.
Because many administrators care about the bottom line, emphasizing how these programs could bolster outcomes across the board can be extremely effective.
4. Make your pitch.
Set up a meeting with your administrator and go prepared. (Your administrator will be more likely to take you seriously when you do!) Bring your research and plenty of personal stories and testimonials from your own classroom, and invite your administrators to come and observe mindfulness at work with your students. Emphasize the cost-effectiveness and broad, long-term impact of yoga and mindfulness programs, after all, you’re setting up your students with skills to promote health, wellness, and success for life. Not sure how to reach out to your admin team? This template letter can be adapted for your needs.
5. Don’t give up.
Your first pitch may not be an immediate success, but don’t get discouraged! Continue working with fellow teachers and parents to drive traction and build your team of program champions. If funding proves to be problematic, there are plenty of grants available to support school yoga and mindfulness programs, especially if you’re working with students who would be considered at-risk. Just be persistent, and know that even small steps matter. Take a look at what other teachers across the country have been able to achieve, one step at a time:
We’re here to help!
And don’t forget, we are here to help you bring mindfulness and movement to your school. Simply fill out this consultation form and one of our Education Specialists will contact you to brainstorm how we can support you in your efforts.