As far as after-school detention goes, being forced to sit in a room against one’s will for an hour rarely promotes the personal reflection that leads to any behavior change—and that’s from the mouth of a high school principal, Jack Hatert.
His school, Yellow Springs High, along with nearby Mckinney Middle school, are giving students an alternative to classic detention by offering after-school mindfulness practice led by an expert. Every Monday for 30 minutes after classes end, students can sit down on a blanket in Donna Haller’s second-floor classroom and allow themselves a quiet moment to calm their emotions and focus on stillness, being present, and increasing awareness of themselves and their school environment.
Collectively, these emotional reset sessions sit at the heart of a new Ohio statewide education initiative encouraging schools and teachers to offer mindfulness training to students. Entitled “Each Child, Our Future,” Ohio’s new plan aims to offer resources to create well-rounded and capable young people, and perhaps also address the mental health epidemic in the United States.
Social-emotional learning is one of the three fundamentals in this program, which hopes to create “processes through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions”.
Along with mindfulness classes every Monday, Yellow Springs High offers yoga classes in the school library every Wednesday.
Donna Haller, has been at the high school for the past nine years and is a certified yoga and meditation instructor for both adults and youth of all ages.
“I love it,” she told Yellow Springs News after one of her guided meditation classes during Wednesday’s yoga slot. “It does as much for me as them,” she said of the calming effects.
“Someone I know said that mindfulness and yoga have helped them with their ADHD and with processing an event where they had lost someone who was dear to them,” wrote freshman Isabella Beiring for a video project about the mindfulness and yoga program.