Harrison Elementary's program teaches students to be 'mindful'

Posted at 10:12 PM, Nov 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-19 20:02:23-05

 A new program at Harrison Elementary is challenging the way students learn.

Along with reading math and science, second graders are taking part in a pilot program.

Teaching them how to be mindful.

I went in the classroom for more.

At first glance, it appears that these second grade students at Harrison Elementary are dozing off in class.

But stick around and you'll find It's a new pilot program on "mindfulness."

Mindfulness, teaches students what they cant find in a book  or online.

They learn how to center their thoughts and focus their energy.

Harrison principal, Dr. Andrea Haynes helped design the program

“ The mindfulness project looks at the holistic view of the child,” she said.

“We know that schools are in place to teach academics but we want our children to feel like we are meeting their social needs their emotional needs, their psychological needs and a big piece of that can be met though a program like our mindfulness program.”

In mindfulness - second graders - meet once a week - for 45 minutes.

There, they are guided through exercises and they learn how to focus and calm any anxiety or stress they might have. 

Parent Danielle Herzog is fan, she notices its effects outside the classroom.

“I heard her say to her friend the other day, lets just take a deep breath,” she said.

“And you are laughing on the side of a parent because it makes sense - that's what we say as adults - lets take a deep breath- lets calm down.”

So far, Dr. Haynes says feedback from other parents is positive too.

They report its not just what their kids say - it also  what they do.

“ Parents are commenting on comments their children are making at home, ways their children at home are managing stress or how they are encouraging their parents to manage stress,”  Haynes said.

To critics who say the idea of mindfullness is just a trendy fad.

Dr. Haynes It might be time, they get with the program 

“ The education system in 2016, we can no longer be focused on academics,” she said.

“We have to embrace all of our children and their whole being - their whole self - otherwise they are not learning in ways that they should .”