It’s no secret that family life today is a juggling act for both parents and children. Thanks to yoga teacher Erin Galbraith, Princeton Montessori School students are learning to “tune in” and find their inner stillness.
Trained at the renowned Kripalu School of Yoga in Stockbridge, MA, Galbraith has been teaching yoga in the greater Princeton area for over 10 years. At Princeton Montessori School, she holds weekly yoga and mindfulness classes, known as “Tune In,” for students ages 3 through middle school.
Initially, Galbraith’s sessions drew upon the teaching principles of the Mind-Up curriculum, created by the Goldie Hawn Foundation. The Tune In program has since evolved into Galbraith’s own blend of those principles, her yoga training and mindfulness practices.
“With the younger students, we talk about the different types of breath,” Galbraith explains. “For example, how do you breathe when you’re angry? How can you breathe to calm down? As they get older, we add in more formalized yoga.”
Galbraith also teaches about the different parts of the brain and what they do. Her hope is to bring about an awareness of executive function, so the children learn to operate from a place of logic versus emotional reactivity.
According to Galbraith, one of the key parts of the program is starting and ending each session with a period of stillness.
“The young ones are still very much in their own world and many are able to close their eyes and sit in the silence,” Galbraith says. “It’s can be harder with the 1st and 2nd graders, for example, since they’re much more aware of their peers and monitoring who is doing what.”
The school as a whole is committed to implementing mindfulness tools throughout the week and several teachers have taken a “Mindfulness Fundamentals” course for educators.
Princeton Montessori School is an independent, coeducational day school for infants through eighth grade, accredited at the highest level by the American Montessori Society (AMS).