Evergreen, WA: Teachers use deep breathing and mindfulness to calm kids down

Dec 27, 2018, Vancouver (WA) Columbian: A brain break: Students learn, practice mindfulness—Evergreen Public Schools curriculum includes hot new trend in education around U.S. As his classmates watched, first-grader Daniel Demedetsky shook a bottle filled with water and glitter. “It’s like our minds when you’re getting mad and going all crazy,” Daniel said, watching as the turbulent sparkles swirled around the bottle. But as students in Katrina Munro’s Illahee Elementary School class watched and breathed slowly, the glitter settled. So too did a calm over the group of first-graders. This is a brain break in Munro’s class, an opportunity after a high-energy activity like recess to do some deep breathing and reflecting. It’s part of the district’s mindfulness curriculum, implemented last year. The goal, said Carl Smith-Knapp, assistant director of student services for Evergreen Public Schools, is to get students conscious of their thinking and behavior, calm and focused, and less stressed in the classroom. … Mindfulness is the hot new trend in education, with districts across the country looping the practice into their day-to-day activities. … “Studies have indicated mindfulness has improved things like student attention, emotional regulation, behavior in schools, their empathy and understanding of others, their social skill development,” Smith-Knapp said. “It also addresses the test anxiety and stress management.”