Mind, Body and Student: PhD student Roxanne Rashedi explores using yoga in the classroom
Third-year PhD student Roxanne Rashedi wants to know if yoga-based practices can be used in classrooms to enhance young children’s self- regulatory skills. “We know that self-regulation develops rapidly in young children,” she said. “I’m going to look at what effect brief doses of yoga-based practices may have on children’s ability to self-regulate. How can we design a sustainable and feasible curriculum for teachers to use in school settings?”
Rashedi, who is also a yoga instructor for adults and children, sought teacher input and developed a series of yoga-based lessons for transitional kindergartners. She’s recording those movements in brief videos that teachers and students will follow three times per week in their classrooms.
The next challenge will be to rigorously assess the impact of yoga on the children’s behavior. “I’m examining their performances on direct assessments of executive functioning,” said Rashedi, “and also looking at parent and teacher rating scales of behavior.” Rashedi will collect video data on the behaviors of children before, during and after they participate in yoga and conduct interviews with a subset of parents and teachers to better understand their experiences.
Rashedi hopes to one day bring effective yoga practices to schools and communities where it might not otherwise be accessible. “My goal as both a researcher and a yogi,” she said, “is to help teachers provide children with the tools to cope with challenges so they not only survive but thrive in the classroom, on the playground and at home.”