Project Peace Corners Brings Yoga to Elementary School Classrooms in Colorado

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Growing up, most of us were sent to the principal’s office or placed in ‘time-out’ if we got in trouble in class. Growing up, most of us witnessed bullying, kids acting out, and dealt with our own issues of stress, self-consciousness, and not having the proper tools to cope.
Imagine if we could replace detention and time-out with mindful breathing and yoga exercises. Imagine if we could teach young children positive coping mechanisms for handling stress, working through their emotions, and interacting with others. Imagine if we had these resources when we were young and what impact that would’ve had on our most formative years.
It’s safe to say that through this vision, society as a whole would benefit. Lucky for us, schools around the country are starting to take note. Recently, an elementary school in Baltimore, Maryland introduced meditation to replace detention with amazing results. You can read about this inspiring story.

Yoga and Mindfulness in the Classroom

Montview Elementary is following suit by implementing “peace corners” into each classroom. Project Peace Corners started with a school psychologist who wanted to change the way children are taught to handle challenging situations. YogiApproved partnered with Montview Elementary to help make this movement possible.

Project Peace Corners is a way to teach students safe methods of de-escalation and coping strategies without being removed from the classroom setting.

These children need a better, more positive outlet for handling challenging situations. Sending them to detention doesn’t teach them how to work through and resolve these behaviors on their own.

Peace Corners Bring Yoga to Every Classroom

Montview Elementary is located in Aurora, Colorado in a diverse community serving primarily low-income families. Many Montview students are sent to the principal’s office daily. Project Peace Corners was created as a way to teach students safe methods of de-escalation and coping strategies, without being removed from the classroom setting.
Classrooms will have a designated Peace Corners with a yoga mat and other calming tools, in addition to an instructional poster that illustrates a series of yoga poses the students can practice. These Peace Corners are there for students to take a break as needed to do a short yoga sequence, meditate, or use sensory tools in times of stress or conflict. The goal is to teach students emotion regulation and coping strategies necessary for academic and social development.
Jade Yoga generously donated yoga mats for every classroom to help make this movement possible through their Community Partners Program.

Students Have the Opportunity to Lead

Students from the higher grades have been selected to be the first Montview Peace Leaders. These students were chosen because of their academic motivation, excellent leadership skills, attendance and willingness to speak in front of an audience.
The Peace Leaders had the opportunity to take several yoga classes led by founder Ashton August. During these classes, the students learned the poses, their benefits, and how to practice each pose. These Peace Leaders are the ambassadors that will help support the other students in their yoga journey. Giving the Peace Leader students the opportunity to lead will foster long-term positive outcomes.


The Vast Benefits of Introducing Yoga to Children

In a world full of violence, emotionally-charged news reports, and stress from all directions, it’s more important than ever to equip our youth with the tools they need to find peace and balance in their own lives, and learn how to cope with life’s inevitable challenges in a healthy, positive, and empowering way.

Introducing yoga to children at a young age helps foster and encourage positive behavior and positive methods of handling stress.

What better way than yoga and mindfulness?! Introducing yoga to children at a young age helps foster and encourage positive behavior and positive methods of handling stress. As the children continue to grow, they’ll take these valuable skills with them into every chapter of their life. Imagine a world full of adults who have understood the value and power behind mindfulness since childhood.
When asked about their favorite part of yoga, here’s what some of the Peace Leaders had to say:

“It helps me concentrate.” – Levi, 2nd grade

“It helps me calm down when I am stressed.” – Izai, 3rd grade

“It’s relaxing and makes me feel happy.” – Natalee, 5th grade

“It helps me calm down when I am stressed.” – Izai, 3rd grade


The Takeaway

Project Peace Corners is a movement that we hope doesn’t end with Montview. Instead, we hope that Montview and the elementary school in Baltimore will be leaders in sparking a national – and ultimately international – movement of bringing yoga and mindfulness techniques into the classroom.
How can you help? Share this article, and talk about it with your friends and family. Consider talking with your children’s teacher or principal and explore other ways of introducing yoga programs to your local schools. Elementary, middle, and high school students can all stand to gain so much from learning yoga and having the opportunity to practice yoga in school.
As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” It starts with every single one of us. Together, we can positively impact our youth and as a result, the entire world, one yoga mat in the classroom at a time.
Special thanks to Montview Elementary School and Jade Yoga for making this possible.

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