Fortville Elementary students have participated in yoga since fall 2018. As a result, Principal Stacy Muffler said discipline rates have decreased.
“We started in the fall and have offered students a yoga session every week for 40 minutes,” Muffler said. “Every student in the building gets yoga for 40 minutes on Tuesday or Friday, and the staff joins them as well, for the most part. It’s open to all students and all staff.”
Joanne Bietel teaches the classes, which are paid for by the Mt. Vernon Education Foundation and the PTO. Muffler wants to expand classes to other Mt. Vernon Community Schools Corp. schools.
“We are currently looking for future funding and plan for sustainability for next year and expand through all elementary schools and the middle school,” Muffler said. “The goal was to help our students’ social-emotional needs and social-emotional development. It’s not because there are problems, but it is more of a proactive approach and a way to frontload students in identifying emotions because we can’t expect kids to respond appropriately to emotions they can’t identify.”
Muffler said teachers have noticed better student focus and being less distracted.
“We definitely feel a different vibe in our buildings on the day Jo is here,” she said.
Jon Palmer, a fifth-grade teacher at Fortville Elementary, also has noticed a difference.
“It’s just everybody is so busy these days and running around ragged, this is just an hour or so kids can be at peace, at calm and maybe reflect a little bit,” Palmer said.