Why This Elementary School Is Replacing Detention With Yoga

Written by Leigh Weingus

Photo by Vera Lair

Traditionally, minor school-related transgressions are treated with a scolding from a teacher and an afternoon spent in detention. But thanks to a new pilot program, a school in Denver, Colorado, is taking a different approach to punishment: They're teaching kids yoga.

Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, the time slots typically reserved for detention at Doull Elementary are instead dedicated to yoga classes. The aim is to give students healthy coping mechanisms for when anger and strong emotions arise.

"What’s more important? Punishing kids for a mistake they made or teaching them some skills that they can actually use in life to not make the same mistakes again?" asks school psychologist Carly Graeber. "Math and reading and science and social studies are all so important to us here, but also we’re really in the business of teaching kids social and emotional skills that they can use for their lives, so how to solve problems, how to deal with complicated feelings, and things like that."

There's no question that yoga and mindfulness practices are important for kids. In addition to improving their flexibility and helping them control their breathing when they're feeling anxious or angry, research has shown that yoga can also help ease symptoms of ADHD and boost school performance.

Three cheers for Doull Elementary.

Want to learn more about the benefit yoga has on children? Here are seven ways kids can benefit from yoga.

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