Ms. Aloni, Head of Early Childhood
Dear Early Childhood Families,
If you are anything like I was when my children were in preschool and kindergarten, you probably wish you could be a "fly on the wall" in our Bernard Zell classrooms. To help keep you updated and involved, your children's teachers will be sharing weekly posts on BZ Connect to highlight intellectual explorations and social-emotional learning in the classrooms of our Nursery, Junior Kindergarten, and Senior Kindergarten students. Please do read these weekly updates. They are great "jumping off points" to help you engage in meaningful conversations with your children about their school experiences. On my end, I will be writing quarterly musings in Ma Nishma to share early childhood best practices and family education topics that I hope you will also find interesting.
Speaking of being a "fly on the wall," if you enter any Bernard Zell Early Childhood classroom throughout the day, you may hear something like this:
Sit with your legs crossed.
Put your hands on your knees.
Sit up as tall as you can.
Can I see everyone sitting up tall?
We are going to practice sitting peacefully.
Sitting Peacefully means your whole body is quiet and not moving.
Close your eyes.
Your eyes are quiet and peaceful.
Your head is quiet and peaceful.
Your shoulders are quiet and peaceful.
Your hands are quiet and peaceful.
Your belly is quiet and peaceful.
Your knees are quiet and peaceful.
Your feet are quiet and peaceful.
Let's practice sitting peacefully for 10 seconds.
Now, take a big breath in.
Breathe out slowly and peacefully.
Slowly open your eyes.
Since the first day of school, the children in Early Childhood have been immersed in daily mindfulness exercises. For the past five years, Early Childhood teachers have been guided by the Calm Classroom curriculum and implementing moments of mindfulness throughout the day. We believe that when students and teachers take short breaks throughout the day to relax and re-energize their bodies and minds, the classroom community thrives. Research shows that the more we practice wellness techniques in a safe and structured environment, the stronger our brain’s wiring becomes for caring, composure, and calm.
The Calm Classroom curriculum is composed of breathing, stretching, relaxation, and focusing techniques. Mindful breathing, focusing on our five senses, expressing gratitude, and befriending our emotions and physical symptoms are some of the exercises we are practicing throughout this year. Being mindful is, at its core, the ability to sustain a focused awareness on the present moment, and fortunately, children are uniquely suited to benefit from this type of practice. Habits formed early in life will inform behaviors in adulthood, and with mindfulness, we have the opportunity to give our children the habit of being peaceful, kind, and accepting.
If you are interested in utilizing some of the Calm Classroom techniques at home, just ask us. We are happy to share!
Head of Early Childhood