Teaching Relaxation?

 
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On our application ICS is asked to explain, in some detail, how we will teach academic subjects like science and reading and math.  If you're interested in more details on these and other topics you can email me or comment below and I can send you the relevant parts of the draft application. But we see building children's character as a responsibility of equal importance - I often quote Martin Luther King's exhortation to "... remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character–that is the goal of true education.”  One way we will address this responsibility is through our core values curriculum and the responsive classroom  approach to building a positive school environment. Another is by teaching Yoga.

Yoga?

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Sure, you might think practicing yoga develops kids' gross motor skills and strengthens their muscles. But character building?

One side effect of all the academic and social learning we expect kids to absorb at school is stress. Even for 'good' students school is hard work. As parents we want to see our kids equipped with the knowledge and tools they need to succeed in life, but we're equally mindful that this can sometimes be too much for our children. At ICS, building character includes equipping your children with tools to manage stress effectively.

Harvard psychiatrist John Denninger  notes that the relaxation response (RR) is the counterpart of the stress response, and can be taught through yoga and meditation.

Denniger said recently “The kinds of things that happen when you meditate do have effects throughout the body, not just in the brain.” In an academic paper accompanying his team's research, he noted "Our results ... indicate that RR elicitation, particularly after long-term practice, may evoke its downstream health benefits by improving mitochondrial energy production and utilization and thus promoting mitochondrial resiliency through upregulation of ATPase and insulin function."

Now that last bit can be a lot academic vocabulary to wade through, but ICS advisor Dan Willingham told me Denniger's research is one of several recent findings that increase his confidence in the benefits of yoga. Through activities like yoga ICS will help your children develop life long behaviors that serve their emotional needs as well as our math or history curriculum serves their academic needs.