Mindfulness in the Classroom

    Chris Wallach, one of our first grade teachers, has been practicing mindfulness for many years, and is generous enough to share her practice with many of our students, families, and faculty. She has presented on her methods for bringing mindfulness, meditation, and yoga into the classroom on several occasions, most recently at the Progressive Education Conference in Boston. In her presentation, Chris described New City’s educational philosophy, highlighting our belief that social-emotional learning is foundational to children’s development. As she shared personal stories and features of our curriculum, Chris illustrated how mindfulness in the classroom can have positive effects on student learning outcomes while simultaneously building community and reducing stress.

    Chris has found that mindfulness allows both students and teachers to improve attention, focus, and emotional regulation—creating the space to respond, rather than react to any challenging situation that might arise. Perhaps most importantly, Chris says that when she and her students practice mindfulness, “we learn to pay attention to the present moment with kindness and curiosity, allowing our behavior and become more connected as members of a learning community.”