Thanks to a generous support of The Highland Foundation for Educational Excellence, the Yoga & Mindfulness Training has returned to Highland Middle School. Yoga techniques are taught regularly in physical education classes at HMS, and this time around, a “relaxation” component has been added to supplement the program. The goal of this initiative is to increase the physical and emotional health and wellness of students at the middle school level.
As part of the newly introduced relaxation component, Eden Koz, mindfulness consultant and founder of “Just Be,” will offer parent and student workshops on the topics of knowing the signs and symptoms of anxiety and depression, basic ways to reduce and manage anxiety, healthy coping skills for teens and adults, as well as an overview of mindfulness and meditation practices.
Workshops for students in grades 6-8 are set for January 22-23, and the free workshop for parents and community members will be held from 6:30-8 p.m. on Tuesday, January 30 in the HMS gym. Beginning February 1 through May, she will also offer student meditation groups during lunch and recess times at HMS.
In a 2015 survey, 35% of 7th grade boys admitted to not handling stress well, with 54% of girls stating the same. In the fall of 2017, HMS parents were surveyed requesting feedback on the most important socio-emotional issues affecting their children. Out of 12 topic choices, nearly 38% of parent responses requested lessons on “Coping Skills and Calm-down Strategies, while 26% requested “Understanding Emotions and Anger.”
According to Carolyn Colbow, HMS counselor, this is a great opportunity for students and parents alike. “Through these programs, students and adults can learn to develop a deeper understanding of their whole self, which includes a healthy balance of mental, social/emotional and physical well-being. We want to empower all of our students be the best they can be.”