McKinley-Brighton Students Improve Literacy, Flexibility with Mindfulness Grant

     Published on 4/5/17   Tagged under:    District News    McKinley-Brighton Elementary School   

Last year, select fourth graders at McKinley-Brighton received a set of yoga mats and enjoyed six weeks of yoga lessons – thanks to a SCSD Education Foundation grant. The program was so successful that Speech-Language Pathologist Megan Luton decided to apply for another grant this year, with the hope of exposing more McKinley-Brighton students to the mindfulness, peace and focus that yoga can provide.
Thanks to the new grant’s funding, this year, a group of second and third graders were able to experience the series of weekly lessons. The school was also able to purchase 24 sets of four featured children’s books to correspond with the mindfulness lessons like meditation and peace, intentionality, self-control and balance that students would learn about in their sessions.
Prior to the yoga sessions, students would break into small groups and read one of the books together. The yoga instructor would then focus the flow of the session and the poses on the themes and events from the stories, helping students make connections. The grant funding allowed each student taking part to receive their own copy of the book, as well as a story board that uses picture communication symbols of vocabulary to help students who need language support. Students were encouraged to use these materials at home to help solidify their new skills.
“Yoga is fun because we get to do the snake and other poses,” second grader Malachi Smith explained. “It makes me feel good and I’m getting more flexible. Doing yoga makes me feel relaxed – sometimes I feel like I want to go to sleep!”
Aside from the physical and mental benefits the activity provides students, Ms. Luton noted that she sees a developmental improvement in certain students as well.
“I have found that with each session, the students seem to transition more easily and are quicker to focus,” Ms. Luton explained. “As a speech-language pathologist, I have a group of students who stutter that I work with who are involved in the program, and the anchor breathing techniques have been very valuable in helping the students control their own breath flow and improve their speaking fluency.”
Thank you to the SCSD Educational Foundation for allowing this project to continue to expand! This is one of 20 projects the Educational Foundation funded in 14 SCSD schools this year.

To view a video of this project, produced by ITC Media Communications teacher Jeff Newell and his students, please click here >>>