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Friday, September 25 • 9:00am - 10:00am
Mindfulness Integration into the Daily School Curriculum: The Story of One School's First Year-Long Mindfulness Integration Program LIMITED

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Washington Montessori School in New Preston, CT has had a yoga program since the founding of the school in 1965. In the spring of 2014, Head of School, Pat Werner, and Director of Development and Yoga teacher, Ali Grimes, reviewed the pros of receiving a 45 minute-1 Hour yoga class once a week at WMS, (which Lower El, or 1-3 grade and Upper El, 4-5 grade have received for many years.) Pat and Ali wanted to create a program that would reinforce and integrate the principles that children receive from yoga and mindfulness into a daily format. The challenge they both agreed upon was the training of school teachers who did not all practice yoga and meditation. Ali expressed that this was where she saw a problem with some of the programs out there, that provide a 1 or 2-day immersion for teachers. This is where the roots of the idea for the Mindfulness program at WMS began. Ali wrote the curriculum for the year, drawing upon her 8-year background of teaching yoga and meditation. Students in Upper El would begin their day with 15 minutes of Mindfulness, during which there is a self-awareness practice, a portion of yoga and yogic breath work and a 7-8 minute guided mediation. Ali spent two days/week in each class guiding the practice for students and teachers, then the teachers would guide the remaining three days of the school week. Weekly practices were simple and written out clearly each week. Amazingly, within a couple of weeks, the students expressed interest in guiding the weekly morning practices themselves and did so successfully. One of Ali's personal goals, was not only to see the children practicing self-awareness, meditation and mindfulness, but truly learning how to connect with their breath deeply. The program achieved this with students as well as teachers within the first year. Teachers felt grateful to have the time to receive mindfulness guidance in the morning two days/week and were able to teach it themselves from a more embodied and integrated place as the year progressed. The Mindfulness Program at WMS will continue during the 2015-16 school year and expand to Lower El (1st-3rd years,) and Middle School (6-8th.) This curriculum is an excellent model for other schools to help successfully integrate mindfulness practices into school. Like WMS, other schools can utilize staff with yoga or meditation teaching backgrounds to grow the program in a similar way.

avatar for Ali Grimes

Ali Grimes

Development Director, Montessori School of Maui
Ali began her position as the Development Director at Montessori School of Maui in August of 2015. Previously, Ali was the Development Director at Washington Montessori School in Connecticut for over six years and, more recently, also the Yoga & Mindfulness teacher there. In addition... Read More →

Friday September 25, 2015 9:00am - 10:00am HST
Konia 102

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