Inside: tips for setting up an after-school mindfulness club.
Imagine this: children bustling out of school doors after a full day of classes, their energy levels at polar opposites—some fading from exhaustion, others bouncing off the walls with post-school excitement.
As parents, teachers, and caregivers, how can we offer them a sanctuary to unwind, discover mindfulness, self-awareness, and build connections with themselves and others?
The answer may lie in creating an after-school mindfulness club! Today, we’re thrilled to introduce JaTorra Commodore, founder of Commodore Coaching and participant of our School Yoga Program, who embarked on this journey after 20 years as an elementary school teacher.
JaTorra’s after-school mindfulness club is an amazing program that provides children with a calming space to explore the power of mindfulness. Let’s dive into her journey and listen to the real-life story of the benefits of creating a Wellness Toolkit during an After-School Mindfulness Club.
The Structure of an After-School Mindfulness Club
JaTorra and her teacher colleague divide the club’s one-hour duration into two sections:
1. Wellness Toolkit (First Half Hour):
In this initial phase, the children engage in a variety of activities that ultimately make their way into their very own “Wellness Toolkit” (see more details below). This toolkit is like a treasure chest of self-discovery and mindfulness practices. It’s a gift they take home after their six-week journey, ensuring the mindfulness lessons continue beyond the club.
2. Yoga and Mindfulness (Second Half Hour):
The second half hour is a variety of mindfulness activities. From gratitude journaling and practicing yoga poses to fostering a sense of community, this part of the session is designed to nourish the children’s hearts, minds, and bodies.
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3 Essential Tips for Creating an After-School Mindfulness Club
In this interview video below, JaTorra shares her three top tips for creating a mindfulness club for before or after school:
1. Getting Buy-In:
Creating a successful after-school mindfulness club starts with securing buy-in from the school administrators and the parent-teacher organization (PTO/PTA). Collaborating with these key stakeholders can help spread the word about your program and ensure its longevity.
2. Have a Coworker:
JaTorra’s experience highlights the importance of having a coworker to share the responsibilities of running the mindfulness club. By dividing tasks such as planning, marketing, registration, and finances, you can make the program more manageable and efficient.
3. Provide Engaging Yoga and Mindfulness Activities:
To capture the children’s interest, it’s vital to choose yoga and mindfulness activities that are not just relevant but also meaningful to them. The children should feel a sense of ownership and excitement for each class.
How to Create a Wellness Toolkit during an After-School Mindfulness Club
JaTorra’s Wellness Toolkit is a fantastic way to ensure that the lessons learned during the after-school club continue to benefit the children. Here are some items that can be included:
- Gratitude Journal: A journal where children can jot down things they are grateful for each day.
- Sensory Rice Ball: A hands-on tool for promoting relaxation and mindfulness.
- Calming Jar: A mesmerizing jar filled with soothing materials to help kids relax and focus.
- Breathing Cards: A set of cards that guide children through deep breathing exercises to manage stress.
- Calming Stones: Small, smooth stones that children can hold to provide a sense of calm.
- Kid-Decorated Yoga Mats (from Five Below store): Personalized yoga mats can make the practice of yoga more fun and engaging.
All these items are placed inside a decorated box or bag, which the children take home at the end of the six-week session. This toolkit serves as a reminder of their journey, a resource for practicing mindfulness, and a tangible link to the after-school mindfulness club.
In a world filled with distractions and constant stimuli, creating an after-school mindfulness club can be a safe space of tranquility and self-discovery for children, which can be a great alternative to other more overstimulating after-school clubs. JaTorra’s journey offers a blueprint for anyone looking to embark on this rewarding path. As we nurture the mindfulness seeds in our children, we not only help them flourish but also contribute to a more compassionate and connected world.
JaTorra shared an example of activities her after-school club does. She writes: “We made snow globes and took pictures of the students in different poses and displayed them on a bulletin board. Not only was it a fun activity and the kids loved seeing themselves on the board but we really think it’s helped with new and repeat enrolment in our program.”
We love that the students see themselves in the poses, and can see that what they do matters, and that they are part of something special.