Parent Teacher Magazine Union County Public Schools Sept/Oct 2017 - Page 4

Back to School: Mindful techniques help Walter Bickett Elementary students embrace the present More than 200 Union County Public Schools staff members During the Mindful Movement class, which is taught by WBES were trained on the importance of mindfulness and self-care for Behavior Modification Teacher Ashley Covington, students explore educators and students. The training taught the employees a set mindfulness through games, activities and creative expression. of strategies intended to help students achieve success through The class incorporates yoga poses to help the students increase focus based on the Five their strength, balance and flexibility Principles of Health and while also helping to establish and Wellness: body, breath, improve emotional recognition and social mind, attention and skills. engagement. Ashley integrates literacy into the Since then, the class by reading aloud to the students. therapeutic techniques And specific poses and postures help have been practiced in six the students alleviate emotions and schools across the district, feelings related to frustration, anxiety, including Walter Bickett hyperactivity and more. Elementary (WBES), “I enjoyed the exercises because it where Principal Dr. made me feel calmer,” said fifth-grade Jamie Benfield hopes her student Isabella Armenta. “I like the students will ultimately tree pose the most because it made learn how to integrate me remember my grandma’s favorite mindfulness into their tree. When I leave, I feel like I can lives. concentrate a little more in my class.” “If students are Dr. Benfield said it’s important to dealing with anxiety or teach strategies that students can use other issues that children now in their academics, in the future as aren’t used to dealing they prepare for college and careers, with, then they can’t get and in their communities. down to what they’re here “We are teaching the youth of to do. And their job is to America. These kids are going to grow learn,” she said. “The first up and become adults in the workforce,” priority is to make sure she said. “If we can teach them that we are teaching the strategies to be present in the moment whole child, that they feel and not dwell on their past and to make safe while they’re here an impact on others by being kind, Top: The Mindful Movement class incorporates yoga poses to help and that we’re giving peaceful and mindful, then they will the student