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Cleveland school uses yoga in curriculum to help children succeed

Posted at 4:19 PM, Oct 01, 2019

CLEVELAND — A new approach is being taken to offer flexibility for students at Almira PreK-8 Academy.

Students at the school are expanding their studies and are practicing yoga. The addition to their curriculum has helped relieve stress and anxiety, improve memory and attention span and promote mindfulness. ZENworks helps create the lesson plan.

“It’s interesting, because we get more focused and relaxing because they said we were going to do more stuff,” said student Jamair Scott.

While the students participate in the yoga lessons, the exercises aren’t just for the kids.

ZENworks also offers programs for teachers, instructing them in the art of self-care. There's even after-school yoga and mindfulness classes for families.

"We all need support and support can look different in every way,” said Almira PreK-8 Academy Principal Jim Greene.

Absences have dropped, and performance has climbed—which shows in the school’s report cards.

"We went from an F to a D in the metrics. However, we closed our achievement gap over the last three years, from an F to a D,” Greene said.

In-school programming reaches approximately 2,500 students on a weekly basis.

ZENworks Yoga instructors build resiliency during classroom yoga sessions that are done on a mat or at students’ desks.

According to ZENworks, the idea is working toward building resilient communities by providing students, staff and families what they need to succeed from an emotional wellness perspective.

This story is part of A Better Land, an ongoing series that investigates Northeast Ohio's deep-seated systemic problems. Additionally, it puts a spotlight on the community heroes fighting for positive change in Cleveland and throughout the region. If you have an idea for A Better Land story, tell us here.