Twelve Houston ISD schools have a new program designed to improve students’ health and reduce their stress.
The program, which is sponsored by the Sonima Foundation, will teach students skills for a healthier lifestyle. Through group discussion, character education, breathing exercises and yoga, students will learn to focus their attention, calm their minds, reduce stress and think before reacting. Nutrition curriculum will be introduced later in the school year.
“Some of the benefits we’ve seen is a reduction in stress, improvement in attendance and academic scores and decreased incidences of bullying,” said Ret Paccasassi, an HISD health and wellness trainer.
Students at Oak Forest Elementary School have been participating in the program since the beginning of the school year.
“Usually I’m really stressed when I go and I’m not really excited,” fifth-grader Madison Brundgart said. “After, I’m really calm and I’m glad I went, and I feel better.”
This program will reach more than 6,500 students at Crockett, Elmore, Hilliard, McNamara, Oak Forest, Oates, Stevens, Shadydale, Thurgood Marshall, and Whittier elementary schools, as well as Forest Brook Middle and North Forest High schools this year.
“This is a lot more than just being about yoga,” Superintendent Terry Grier said. “This is about wellness. This is about teaching young people how to lead healthy, well-rounded, well-balanced lives.”