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Students at Increase Miller Elementary School participated in a school assembly related to mindfulness, which was planned by the school’s Character Education Committee. Children reflected on their own self-worth and the goodness in others. They also learned about mindful breathing and relaxation techniques.
"Mindfulness practices help students become more self-aware and reflective," said IMES Principal Kerry Ford. "Providing our students with information about the brain and concrete strategies for managing their feelings and behaviors will support our children’s social and emotional development."
Kindergarten through second grade met as a group, as did third through fifth grade. Each assembly began with "Just Breathe," a short film of children speaking candidly about stress and the techniques they use to relax.
Next, third grader Sophia Cheng read "Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun" aloud.
"This story is about the Golden Rule," said Mrs. Ford. "What is that?"
"Treat others like you would like to be treated," said Sophia.
Mrs. Gratz and Dr. Weschler led relaxation exercises with the students, and the energy level in the room quieted.
"I feel happy. I feel calm. I feel good," the children said.
Sophia Cheng, a third grader, read "Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun: Having the Courage To Be Who You Are,” by Maria Dismondy, to the whole school during the assemblies.
Sophia’s mom, dad, and little sister came to hear “Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun," too.
This picture book is the story of a little girl named Lucy and her classmate, Ralph. He calls her a poodle because her hair is very curly, and makes fun of her lunch. When Ralph really needs a friend, she must remember what her Papa Gino always tells her.
"Even if we are different from others on the outside, we all have a heart with feelings on the inside."
Gina Gratz, a third grade teacher at IMES, spoke to the children about "heartfulness." She asked them to think about someone they love; someone who makes them feel happy, and then send those good feelings to others as well as themselves.
Dr. Michael Weschler, a school psychologists on staff at IMES, introduced himself as a doctor of thinking and feeling. He said, "Worrying and thinking are like a see-saw. When worrying is high, thinking is low."
He showed the students how to breathe deeply, from their belly, and then find a square in the room--a wall tile, or piece of carpet--and follow the sides with their eyes as they breath slowly and evenly.
"Notice the change in yourself," Assistant Principal Andrew Galotti said to the children as he dismissed the assembly.