We teach students and teachers how to meditate in the classroom and at home in our Respira Profundo program.
The Respira Profundo 2.0 program was designed to engage more Pre-K students (3-5 year olds) and parents in deep breathing and meditation over the course of 12-weeks. It is also captured parental feedback and teachers and parent guardians how to use mindfulness techniques from the pilot program inside and outside of the classroom. The program was provided at the Nia Family Center.
Meditation with purpose
Our initial program, Respira Profundo, launched in 2017. This program provided deep breathing, yoga, and stress management workshops for students.
Both programs support our larger goal of providing sanctuary spaces for our students and families.
The Respira Program was designed by Elisha Hall of AIKI. He has been a wellness practitioner for 15 years and is the Founder and Director of the African and Indigenous Knowledge Network (AIKN). AIKN works with families and school communities to provide ecosystems of healing-arts, indigenous education, and wellness across the world.
Mindfulness and meditation
Mindfulness refers to various wellness practices and techniques that assist in responding to stress and trauma.
In our program, Respira Profundo or "deep breath", teaches students meditation and yoga. Meditation improves attention span, focus and memory. In addition, studies show that the effects from this practice can last long after the meditation takes place. It is extremely important that our most vulnerable populations feel safe. Meditation fosters a sense of calm, peace and balance while building armor against disruptive emotions and negativity.
Students experienced many gains in the program. Students were more attentive for longer, they remember the steps of the yoga process, and were generally more relaxed. While the program was only in two classrooms, both classrooms are now using meditation in during free time and cool-down time.
Teachers noticed major improvements in behavior after students began meditating. Before meditation, students were not using their words and were hitting. After students learned how to meditate, they were more calm and relaxed. In fact, a teacher said it was easier to explain to her students how they should use their words after students learned meditation. Meditation also helped those with behavior issues by redirecting their energy and giving them tools to use. Moving forward, teachers would like to see opportunities where students and parents are meditating together in the classroom. Below are some additional highlights from the program:
Over 25 students and 8 parents participated in the program
5 Teachers and teachers aides were trained in meditation and children’s yoga techniques
Students in both classes mediated for 10 minutes and practiced yoga
4 students went home and taught their parent guardian how to meditate Students described themselves as, “calm”, “good”, and “relaxed” after meditation sessions Students are now self-initiating meditation during free time
Parents were very interested and learned how to meditate and the importance of deep breathing and relieving stress
Behavioral changes were also seen in the home