By Forum Staff

Mayor Eric Adams, City Department of Education Chancellor David Banks, and City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan on Tuesday announced that all public schools  — from pre-Kindergarten through grade 12 — will soon be required to facilitate two-to-five minutes of mindful breathing practices in schools every day.

Tuesday’s announcement aims to increase physical and mental health, enhance social-emotional learning, and improve New York City public schools’ culture. As part of this initiative, the city has already begun a rollout of a citywide professional development program for educators in mindful breathing practices.

Yoga and mindfulness integration into school communities addresses and supports significant social and emotional needs of the youngest New Yorkers. Studies show that mindful breathing practices support students’ ability to feel secure and receptive while learning — leaving positive impacts from the integration of these practices into the school experience, Adams noted.

The DOE’s Yoga & Mindfulness Teacher Preparation Program is the first Yoga Alliance-approved yoga and mindfulness program in a public school system nationwide. Yoga Alliance is the nation’s largest nonprofit association representing the yoga community. The Yoga & Mindfulness Teacher Preparation Program is building the capacity of school staff to integrate yoga and mindfulness into DOE public schools to engage students, teachers, and staff.

In March 2023, in partnership with the Yoga & Mindfulness Teacher Preparation Program, DOE began to roll out a professional development program to train educators and other school staff in the implementation of mindfulness breathing practices and tools that can be used in the classroom to support the social and emotional needs of students and the wellness of their entire school community. The professional development sessions are virtual and available to all staff. Educators also have access to online resources to aid in facilitating these practices. In order to ensure schools are free to implement this work in the ways that best suit their school community, school leaders will be empowered to implement this initiative in individualized ways, but all City public schools will soon be required to offer all students mindful breathing practices in school every day.

“The mental wellbeing of our students is a top priority for New York City public schools. These are the future leaders of tomorrow, and it’s important that our young people have a robust tool belt of practices to guide them inside and outside the classroom,” Banks said. “I’m thrilled that we’re enabling our educators to support our kids in this way, and I look forward to continuing to partner with our school leaders and partners across the city in furthering this essential work.”

“We all have a responsibility to support the well-being of young people,” Vasan added. “Incorporating mindfulness into the school day — where they spend the majority of their time — will benefit our young people in their daily lives and for the future, teaching them healthy coping skills which will help them navigate the unpredictable journey of life. I’m proud to work with an administration dedicated to supporting mental health and wellbeing, especially of our children, and commend New York City public schools on this initiative.”

Source link