Nearly eight years ago, after investigating the related benefits of integrating yoga and mindfulness at school, Principal Jaynette Rittman and her staff decided to train with Yoga 4 Classrooms. With full staff buy-in and internal leadership, Yoga 4 Classrooms has been scheduled and integrated twice daily into the structure of the school day (as was their chosen implementation plan) and implemented school-wide with notable and continuing results. After just two years, Edmunds Elementary went from having the lowest test scores in the district to an 18.7% increase in 2016, the most significant improvement district-wide. Office referrals decreased from 1000 incidents per year to 250-300 incidents per year over the span of three years. Demonstrations of student engagement and student leadership have become increasingly common, as well as instances of students applying new skills outside of school during challenging situations. Staff members have shared that their own well-being, emotional resilience and effectiveness have been improved, and some have even been inspired to start or deepen their own personal mindful practices, as well. Not surprisingly, a general feeling of community, connectedness and overall engagement has had a significantly positive impact on the overall school climate.
Jaynette credited the successful implementation of Yoga 4 Classrooms to a number of factors including the decision to go school-wide and to integrating the program into the daily schedule. In addition, she highlights administration support as being a critical factor to ensuring full implementation school-wide as well as staff buy-in and a democratic approach where all stakeholders felt heard. As well, and perhaps the most important piece, according to Jaynette, has been effective and thorough training combined with a team-based, intrinsically motivated approach to curriculum fine-tuning and roll-out. Jaynette and her team were dedicated to developing a year-long curriculum to support their unique goals and objectives. Finally, she ensured that all staff members had all the support and resources they required including manuals, lesson plans, photocopies and even assigned support staff to help with the class and fill in when the classroom teacher was absent.
With little to no external consulting and resources beyond that provided by the foundational Yoga & Mindfulness in the Classroom workshop, followed by the IMPLEMENT™ Leader Training, Edmunds has quite successfully and sustainably implemented yoga and mindfulness school-wide. Read the original full article and case study video following the first two years of implementation here.
In August, 2022, Jaynette joined us at her new staff training to provide an update on where they are now in their 8th year of Yoga 4 Classroom Implementation. Watch the interview below.
At Yoga 4 Classrooms, we understand the recipe for successful implementation of a school-based yoga and mindfulness program is unique to each school and depends on many variables. We also know that with strong leadership and effective, empowering training and support, sustainable and impactful school-wide implementation is possible. The Yoga 4 Classrooms program is designed to empower schools from the inside to plan and roll out implementation in a way that is best suited to their unique school community, goals and structures. Let’s get started.
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