Young Yogis Stretch Out Stress and Anxiety at École Dufferin


A young girl sits cross-legged on a yoga mat in a school gym

Students at École Dufferin are adding yoga to their sets of tools to deal with stress, and thanks to a Parent Reaching Out grant, the whole family is learning and benefiting from the mind-body practice.

Yoga has been introduced school-wide at École Dufferin this year, with the goal of teaching students strategies to deal with feelings of stress, anxiety, and anger. Each classroom has participated in six formal yoga lessons facilitated by Bhava Tree, which specializes in empowering young people through yoga. Teachers are using yoga techniques such as breath work in the classroom, to help students centre as they focus on new tasks.

“The strategies are even being used in the principal’s office to build a calm, welcoming environment,” says Sandra Bonbled, principal at École Dufferin. “Students know they can practice their yoga breathing work, and use that as an effective way to reset or change gears.”

To bring a wholistic approach, the Parent Reaching Out grant allowed for evening family yoga events to teach parents the same skills to integrate at home. Each session has focused on a specific skill, with a healthy snack included. With more than 40 parents at the yoga family night, the whole school community is seeing firsthand how beneficial yoga can be.

Ontario's Parents Reaching Out grants are designed to support parents in identifying barriers to engagement in their own communities, and to find local solutions to involve more parents, guardians, and caregivers in support of student achievement and well-being. The aim of the grant received was to extend wellness beyond the classroom, so students could use the coping strategies and centering techniques learned in their daily lives.

Well-Being is a crucial component of Grand Erie’s Multi-Year Plan, with a goal of creating healthy environments that recognize mind, body, emotion, and spirit. The promotion of health and well-being is pivotal to students participating fully in their education, and involving parents in the process brings a comprehensive approach to Success for Every Student.

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