Eyewitness News (WABC) -- A new school year means a lot to look forward to for students in the city -- not just in the form of academics, but mental health too.

New York City public schools are starting a new chapter this year when it comes to literacy and students will be learning through old-school phonics.

NYC students from pre-K to 12th grade will now have mindful breathing practice everyday.

City leaders launched New York City Reads in May - a renewed focus on reading and learning basic algebra. Educators say the initiative will streamline and enhance a decades-old curriculum.

The city says its committing $35 million to train teachers to implement the program nationwide.

With the new academic changes also comes a push for students' mental health.

ALSO WATCH | NYC schools investing in programs for students with special needs, learning disabilities

"We teach them algebra, trigonometry, and history, and English, and all of those things that they could be prepared to get a job, but we don't teach them how to be emotionally intelligent," New York City Mayor Eric Adams said.

Students in pre-K through 12th grade can expect to take two to five minutes of mindful breathing practice in school every day.

Teachers were trained on techniques earlier this year.

"The pandemic was not the first trauma that our kids have faced, and news flash, it will not be the last," New York City Schools Chancellor David Banks said.

"Instead of having bullets, we will have breath, instead of having violence, we will have balance. We must deal with the stress that our scholars are dealing with," Adams said.

Educators say the mindful breathing initiative is the first Yoga Alliance approved yoga and mindfulness program in a public school nationwide.

It is just part of what the Department of Education has in place to prepare students both academically and emotionally.

ALSO READ | NYC public schools to institute mindful breathing program for all students pre-k to grade 12


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