Parents are spending more on mental health resources as part of their annual back-to-school spending, according to industry analysts at Deloitte.
A private holistic health studio owner in New York has recently started offering inexpensive yoga classes for younger children to help them learning coping skills and stress management.
Meanwhile, a nationally available program called Yoga 4 Classrooms is seeing increasing interest in their program from school administration and district leaders.
Founder and owner Lisa Flynn says before the pandemic, the interest used to come from mostly individual educators and other school staff.
“Focus on mental health and prevention is not a ‘nice to have’ but a ‘have to have’ in our educational setting,” Flynn said.
The youth mental health crisis and incidents of disruptive behavior at schools since the return to classrooms has districts looking for ways to incorporate more mental health support services into the school day.
The Yoga 4 Classrooms program combines classroom-friendly movement practices with breathing techniques and other mindful practices.
“Having these stress-relieving pauses integrated throughout the day is really, really powerful,” said Flynn.
It’s designed to be easily implemented and replicated and can include props like activity cards.
Flynn says some school districts used COVID relief funds to invest in the program. She says now other large school districts are inquiring about other federal grants to purchase the program.
The Los Angeles School District recently added the program into their summer and afterschool care.
Yoga 4 Classrooms is credited with improving students’ academics and behavior after a Des Moines, Iowa elementary school started the program in 2015. The school’s principal says they still use the practice today in classrooms.
Yoga 4 Classrooms also helped produce a research repository with more than 1,600 studies citing the benefits of the practices.