Some North Kansas City District schools bringing yoga into the classroom

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There is a growing trend at elementary schools throughout the country. Teachers are bringing yoga, meditation and mindfulness into the classroom.

Some schools in the North Kansas City District are incorporating the practice.

Maddie Marx’s third graders at Fox Hill Elementary practice meditation, breathing and mindfulness twice a day. They’ve been doing that since September.

“They get that moment that they know they can make it to now and I can relax in just a minute and I can put my best stuff forward,” Maddie Marx said.

Marx says the calming strategies, which only last for a few minutes, help academically and otherwise.

“I really have found there are less behaviors in the morning time when we are working on these strategies together,” Marx said.

She’s also noticed a difference in her students when it comes to assessment time.

“I do see students doing deep breathing during assessments and having that moment of, I’m calm, I’m ready, I’m here,” Marx said. “Instead of just take a deep breath and let’s go, it’s kind of having that moment of, I’m going to calm myself, I’m going to get myself ready for the day.”

The kids agree with Marx.

“If we’re doing a test it doesn’t make me so worried that I might get like a bad score,” Kady, a student in Marx’s class said

Other schools in the North Kansas City District are also trying out relaxation techniques. Earlier this year, Gracemor Elementary’s assistant Principal Margaret Helwig led her staff in yoga. Some of the teachers realized the sense of calmness they felt, could benefit their students.

“We just started a socio-emotional curriculum so I think pairing the yoga with the lessons that we are teaching kids could really give them the tools they need to process the big feelings that they’re having,” Margaret Helwig said.

Katie Ellis and her kindergartners just started doing yoga after lunch this week. Lunch is a great time for kids to socialize, but it’s hard to get them focused when it’s time to learn again.

“We wanted to give them a tool they could use to calm their bodies down to relax, to visualize themselves as a learning so they could get back to learning and continue to grow,” Katie Ellis, a Gracemor kindergarten teacher, said.

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