The Affirmative Classroom Curriculum
“Teaching the Student to Study the Self.”
The Affirmative Classroom Curriculum is composed of 40 lessons based entirely on breath, movement, mindfulness, and personal reflection. The core of each lesson is an Affirmation on which the class will focus throughout the week. The lesson should be delivered the first day of the week, early in the morning, as a way to set the tone for the week. It is a way to bring the class together. The entire introductory lesson should take no longer than 5-8 minutes. The days following the introductory lesson should begin the day with the Affirmation, Breath, and Pose. While in the Pose, the students must hold it for at least 8-10 breaths. This exercise should take 30 seconds to a minute each day. As academic support, it is helpful for the student to practice the Breath, Movement, and Affirmation before a transition, before testing, or any time the teacher sees the need to bring down the energy level in the classroom. Revisit the Breath, Pose, and Affirmation as needed throughout the remainder of the week.
1.. Affirmation: By repeating the Affirmation three times, the power and the positivity that the child carries inside is etched in her mind. The child who struggles with low self-esteem will especially benefit from this simple exercise.
2. Pose: The students will learn body awareness and focus, as well as physical strength. At the close of the program, the student will have learned 40 Yoga poses. Included with some of these poses is an associated mudra or “Peace Hands.”
2a. Peace Hands: In yoga practice, the sanskrit word “mudra” translates to “sealing in the energy”. Our fingertips are designed with energy points that redirect and balance breath and energy currents in the body. Mudras in some ways are like yoga poses for the hands. These hand gestures are extremely effective in helping the child to calm down, refocus, reenergize. In the Affirmative Classroom Curriculum, there are ten mudras that are associated with specific poses. It is helpful to explain to children that our hands need rest too, but they also have powerful energy that we can learn to use in order to quiet, refocus, and practice mindful awareness.
3. Breath: Breathing is a key function to living. We are told to breathe when we need to calm down or feel anxious. We are told to take deep breaths after exercise to get the body grounded and refocused. We are not entirely sure why the breath works in such a magical way, but it does. Science does share that with three deep abdominal breaths, the parasympathetic nervous system is engaged through the vagus nerve, sending a calming signal to the brain.
4. Meditation: In this portion the teacher will guide students through a short Meditation. Kids are amazingly good at this, especially when given an age appropriate setting and/or visualization. These Meditations can be revisited at any point during the year.
5. Student Self Reflection: Each lesson asks the students to quietly reflect on some simple questions. Depending upon the age of the student, the questions can be simplified or expanded. Through Self Reflection, the student learns of his/her own unique voice. And that voice matters!
6. Speak Your Truth:
The purpose of the teacher follow-up is so the students can feel a greater sense of oneness as a class. It will also encourage children who are often nervous about sharing to feel safe to speak their truth. The option of sharing is completely up to the student. They should not be asked to share if they do not want to. Over time, the class will feel a deeper sense of respect and emotional connection for one another and their individuality.