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Ixonia kindergartners practice yoga for relaxation and focus

Oct. 10, 2012

Ixonia kindergarten teacher, Jennifer Ellis, recently returned to the practice of yoga. At the same time, she noticed that a few of her students were experiencing large motor muscular development issues.

She was struck with the idea of introducing yoga to her class to help build on the core strength of all her students, to help them develop better balance and become more aware of their bodies. In just a few weeks, Ellis has noticed changes in student focus and attention span.

Kindergarten yoga also fits nicely into the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) being practiced in Oconomowoc schools. PBIS is a new initiative that allows schools to use a common language surrounding behavioral expectations that are currently part of the Responsive Classroom.

The initiative features collected behavior-related data to provide necessary interventions when behavioral expectations are not being met. At Ixonia School, students pride themselves on being safe, being kind, being a learner, and keeping everyone in mind.

Ellis noted, "(The students) talk about how they feel and yoga helps follow these expectations. They know that they must do yoga safely, keeping space around them to move. Students are kind by telling others that they are doing a great job at yoga."

The kindergarteners also mentioned that yoga helps them relax so that they can be better learners, and by being healthy they are helping everyone.

Ellis holds her five-minute yoga practice between Reader's and Writer's workshops. "Since we began, I have noticed that yoga has had a calming effect and allows students to better focus on their tasks." She added, "It has really built our classroom 'family' and given students success as a team."

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