TORONTO – Mississauga’s Silverthorn Public school has taken a different approach to teaching their students healthy habits by incorporating physical fitness, self awareness and relaxation into their extracurricular activities.
Miranda Murphy, a special education teacher at Silverthorn has teaching a yoga class twice a week during the lunch hour for four years.
“I got certified as a children’s yoga instructor, just so that I could do it at school,” Murphy said. “It’s something I do because I love, and I want to instill that love in the kids.”
Principal Dan Forgione noticed Murphy’s dedication towards the students and the effect it has on their learning.
“Miranda is one of those people that just works really hard,” Forgione said. “She hasn’t taken a lunch, I think, in the four years that I’ve been here.”
Forgione says children frequently tell them how the lunchtime yoga helps them relax.
“They just seem calmer, they enjoy it,” he said.
Murphy said teaching children, especially her grade 1-3 students, how to do yoga is much different than teaching adults.
“We need to make it fun, so we add games, we add songs that will incorporate the poses, but at the same time make it fun for them,” she said.
Not only does teaching yoga to children this young help them with concentration, focus and relaxation but also helps them deal with stress, Murphy said.
“Studies have shown how children are able to cope better with stress, more aware of what’s happening in their bodies,” she said. “They feel stress as much as we do and they need to have resources they can tap into.”
At the end of the day, Murphy knows that she is making a difference in these children’s lives.
“Once I see those kids leaving with that smile on their face and ready to tackle the rest of the day, I know I’ve done something to help these kids be successful,” she said.