Performance Routine

Do nerves get the best of you before a performance?

Band, choir, drama, presentations and performances all require an incredible amount of mindfulness. It can be overwhelming! Are you, and the children you work with, ready to perform? The good news is that there are systematic breathing and movement routines that together create the optimal relaxed, alert state for performing. We recommend using this routine throughout the year, so it is familiar. Then, before a big performance, students can rely on muscle memory to prepare.

This routine is perfect before any music, band or drama class. Getting grounded, opening the rib cage for breathing and focusing with a balancing position are crucial elements for success before taking the stage.

Mountain

• Stand strong in Mountain and feel your power.

Upward Mountain

• Fill your lungs and take a deep breathe inhale to upward mountain.

Crescent (Both Sides)

• Exhale to Crescent and open the rib cage getting your body ready to perform.

Eagle (Both Sides)

• I am focused and I am balanced.

Forward Fold

• Big Exhale, I let go. Slowly roll up and I am ready to perform.

We love the added component of bringing in musical instruments, such as drums, to keep a steady beat during the routine. Some music teachers will weave in their music standards right into the mindful movement!

Singing at Kindergarten graduation? Speaking at debate finals? Dancing in a state competition? Whatever your performance platform, Move Mindfully can prepare mind, body and heart for adults and children alike! Looking for a longer sequence? Our Move Mindfully Engaging Routine also utilizes rib cage openers and balancing movements or create your own sequences with our Move Mindfully Card DeckStill feeling the jitters? Dab some of our Move Mindfully Essential Oil blend on your wrists and put on headphones to listen to an audio recording of our guided mindfulness practice, The Pause.

Have you used these strategies before a performance? Are you an arts teacher that utilizes mindfulness and movement? Leave a comment!

Be Well,

Stephanie Kennelly

PeaceMaker MN

PeaceMaker MN made Move Mindfully® implementation a reality.

Glacier Hills Elementary School of Arts and Science in Eagan, MN has long been a champion for social emotional learning. Spearheaded by a social worker passionate about the Move Mindfully® framework, a variety of funding sources were utilized. District grants, Give to the Max Day and PTO donations were just a few of the ways Glacier Hills got the ball rolling with anti-bullying initiatives. However, the full vision was made a reality with the matching funds program provided by PeaceMaker Minnesota.

Move Mindfully® Implementation

Glacier Hills decided to focus its social emotional learning objectives around the self-regulation, mindfulness, and movement strategies proposed by 1000 Petals. The funds were used over the past two years for staff development, residences and products.

The continued support of PeaceMarker Minnesota has helped provide sustainability by allowing a multi-year roll out of the programming. Alyssa Bartosh, Assistant administrator/Magnet Coordinator, says, “Over the course of our implementation we have been able to differentiate the offerings to meet the needs of our adult learners. This includes offering opportunities to extend and deepen the learning they bring forward to their students.”

Glacier Hills staff have reported noticing shifts in climate. An increase in self-regulation strategies has helped to create peaceful transitions and deepen community connections. The staff themselves are also utilizing the Move Mindfully strategies for their own self care throughout the day.

Connecting with PeaceMaker

PeaceMaker MN has humble beginnings. This organization started  with five households and just over $8,000. These friends had a vision of supporting schools committed to teaching social emotional skills. Now, over ten years later, the organization has grown to support over 30 partner schools and it looking to support more!

How can I get PeaceMaker MN to support my school?

Becoming a PeaceMarker parter school is a simple process. Partner schools are required to report on three school climate indicators.  Most schools in the network use data from the Olweus Bullying Questionnaire (OBQ) for their indicators.  PeaceMaker Minnesota pays for the OBQ. Also, partner schools must pay a $100 membership fee or find a donor to contribute $100 to a PeaceMaker endowment fund to help sustain future assistance to schools. Learn more about becoming a parter school.

Once selected, your school will be eligible for $500 annually to fund your PBIS team and the amazing matching funds program. Your school can use the funding to pay for curriculum, help at-risk students, train teachers, bring in speakers or specialists to work with your students, to hire additional recess help or pay for other staffing.

PeaceMaker believes in Mindfulness and Movement as a core component to social emotional learning and anti-bullying initiatives. 1000 Petals is proud to support PeaceMaker MN in their mission.

To help create a more peaceful world, the mission of PeaceMaker Minnesota is to help schools be safer places, free from bullying and harassment, and to help youth  learn positive relation skills like empathy, respect, cooperation and how to resolve conflicts peacefully.

End of the Year Behaviors

The end is near. And we’re losing it.

As we enter the last few weeks of school, feelings of intensity, excitement and fear are common among staff and students. For many staff it can be a time of exhaustion where we just want and need to push through. In times like these we can turn to our mindfulness practice for support, reminding us to get curious, to notice and most importantly to stay present and lean inThe end of the school year is a perfect time to “use the stress,” and as one my teachers Jennifer Clifden states, “To burn into the work, rather than burn out. To use the stress as our practice.”

head on desk

For many youth, school is their safety net. It is a place that is predictable, providing shelter, food and friends. To know in two weeks this safety net will not be there anymore may be scary if not terrifying, leaving them feeling out of control. So, in order to feel more in control, we often begin to see “the push” including students pushing limits and pushing against other students and/or peers (both physically and emotionally).

In my work in the schools and treatment settings I’ve found a lot of predictability in the unpredictability. I’ve found students who were struggling experiencing even more intense struggling. There was a sense that “I am going to control the good-bye by pushing you away because it is too painful for me to have you push me away or say goodbye.” So as educators, this is our opportunity to counter “the push” by leaning in, moving towards students and holding space for them.

Here are some tips for staying present and leaning in.

Breathe

Now more than ever, a daily structure of breathing together is important. The daily Belly Breathing* routine is a great foundation for calming breaths. However, an opportunity for releasing breaths is equally important, especially this time of year. Lion’s Breath, Wood Chopper*, Explosive Volcano*, and Conductor Breath can all be incredibly effective. Make sure you follow releasing breaths with a calming breath, like Hand Tracing, or a forward fold to pull the group back together.

Hoberman Sphere

Move

Big, gross motor movements work well to get release of big feelings and high energy. Our purple Permission to Pause poster features Down Dog, Plank and Child’s Pose. Try our After Recess Routine for a longer sequence. Want to make it a game? Students love Plank Challenge. How long can you plank?

Permission to Pause

Gratitude

Taking a few minutes to focus on gratitude can create an immediate classroom energy shift. Try our Chair Routine and layer in the social emotional language of thankfulness into each movement. This activity is great for adults at staff meetings too and offer a simple way to wrap up the year on a positive note.

Staff Gratitude Activity

High Expectations

Hold a firm boundary with love. Don’t have “behavior/trauma” be an excuse for not holding boundaries. We need students to understand they can’t hurt things or others but when and if they do, we can repair.

Try hosting a healing circle where staff and students come together. Share about how hard this time of year is and brainstorm ways to help each other out until the end of the year. When we can name the emotions that are MOVING through us we can tame the emotions by giving them voice. For example, we might ask, “Is anxiety and fear moving through you? What breath work or movement do we know of that can help these feelings move through?” It can also be powerful to explain the brain and that sometimes going into the unknown of summer can activate the stress response in our amygdala.

Class Meeting

Self Care

Finally and most importantly, remember to take time for self care. Keep nourishing yourself with adequate sleep and food and continue to keep your body open, stretching and breathing throughout the day. Try starting your day with a seated backbend. Check in with a coworker while doing partner poses during your breaks. As very personal as this feels when students push us away or fall apart after making so much progress please remember: it is not about you! In fact, I am going to be bold and say it is because of you and all of the amazing work you have done to connect to your students this year and create a space for learning and that is too painful for them to loose. Hence, the “PUSH.”

Partner Tree

We at 1000 Petals want to thank you for all the work you have done to teach and love your students. Trust that you have done your best. We close this year in deep gratitude for the opportunity to co-create a loving learning environment for all students to thrive. Remember, stay present and lean in.

What do you implement at the end of the year to end on a high note? What has worked well? Leave a comment!

Written By,

Kathy Flaminio, Founder 1000 Petals LLC

Kathy Flaminio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Yoga Calm® Activities

Meddy Teddy

Meddy Teddy is a great teacher for Toddlers/Preschoolers

I have taught toddler/preschool yoga for the last ten plus years and one thing I know for sure is that the use of visuals while teaching is a key to success. When I started teaching all those years ago, many people were surprised I could teach such young children breathing, mindfulness and movement. As many of us know, Early Education is actually a perfect environment for this fun, playful practice. Here is what makes Meddy Teddy the perfect tool!

meddy teddy

A Model for the Movement

One of the difficulties with teaching younger children, is how to help them stay engaged with the yoga-based movement. Modeling the movement with our own bodies is very helpful for engagement. Sometimes we can’t model the poses if we need to help children – assisting with balance, or lightly lifting their backs off the floor for a Gentle Bridge. When we assist a little one into a pose, we are no longer demonstrating the pose with our body. This is where our assistant Meddy Teddy shines. Meddy Teddy can hold the pose freeing us up to move around the room to assist children.

Meddy Teddy Plank Pose

A Friend for Relaxation

Meddy Teddy is also the best Relaxation participant. Meddy Teddy can lie down with a beanie baby on his belly to model how we stay still and quiet in final relaxation. Children are able to see exactly what the expectation is. They follow Meddy Teddy’s lead and breathe deeply into their bellies to gently rock the beanie babies to sleep. Because Meddy Teddy does not move and does not talk, they strive to do the same.

Meddy Teddy Rest

A Trauma Informed Intervention

Recently, I have been working with an Early Education group of children experiencing trauma and dysregulation. I have had great success leading a session with the visuals from the Move Mindfully® Early Education Card Deck – Mountain, Upward Mountain, Forward Fold, Child’s/Seed, Tree, Down Dog, Rock on Back, Windshield Wipers. Once we move through these movements (repeating Mountain, Upward Mountain, Forward Fold 2-3x, and Seed to Tree balancing on both sides), I lie Meddy Teddy down and place a beanie baby on his belly so that the children know it’s time for Final Relaxation. I use reflective language for both Meddy Teddy and the Children at the end of our relaxation. “Meddy Teddy’s body looks peaceful and calm – is your body peaceful and calm?” or “Meddy Teddy’s beanie baby is asleep – is your beanie baby asleep?”

Meddy Teddy Breathing Buddy

A Co-Teacher

Using Meddy Teddy frees me up to be able to lie down or sit next to a child that is struggling while still being able to refer the other children back to what we are supposed to be doing. When it’s time to go, Meddy Teddy gets a lot of kisses and hugs from the children!

Meddy Teddy and Friends

Meddy Teddy is also a great tool for home use. Toddlers love his calm, reassuring presence before bed. Also, while this post is focused on toddlers and preschoolers, older students love Meddy too! I have found that sometimes the reluctant students in the group are able to access the movement through Teddy!

Meddy Teddy at Bedtime

Meddy Teddy for all ages

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follow all of Meddy’s adorable adventures on Instagram. (he has almost 50,000 followers!)

What do you use when teaching toddlers and preschoolers? What visuals are helpful? Leave a comment!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written By,

Chrissy Mignogna