In many schools, the beginning of March is a celebration of literacy as it is National Reading Month! According to National Today, reading is one of the best habits to develop as it strengthens mental muscles, helps to improve comprehension and analytical abilities, increases imagination, and boosts memory. That’s quite a list of benefits!
ZENworks Yoga’s core program philosophy aims to help students develop skills needed for physical, social, emotional and intellectual health. Therefore, literacy connections are a vital piece of our lesson delivery, and help to create connections between students and our weekly themes.
In our weekly communication with classroom educators, we include curricular connections to books and literacy activities that align with our weekly program themes. Each of our themes is directly linked to the Ohio Department of Education’s Social and Emotional Learning standards. By participating in activities that involve the brain and body, students will likely become present and involved with the task at hand. These elements are part of the first competency in SEL…Self-Awareness. Self-Awareness is defined as “the abilities to understand one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior across contexts (CASEL.org).”
One of our favorite books to incorporate when teaching self-awareness is Puppy Mind by Andrew Jordan Nance. The book is about a young boy whose mind is like a puppy - always wandering away, thinking of the past or the future. He then learns to train his mind to focus and stay in the present moment. The story connects to children with its playful yet real-world storyline, and includes the practices of belly breathing and being kind. It’s a perfect spot to begin making the connection between literature and the brain-body-breath connection!
Check out the story and some wonderful accompanying resources HERE.