Ms. King is a trained yoga and dance instructor who brings mindfulness into her Movement Classes for our youngest students in the Early Learning Program and primary school. As the parent of a middle school student, she realized the techniques could benefit all our families and decided to draft the following blog post outlining information and exercises to use.
Mindfulness – What is it? How does it show up in the classroom? How can you use it at home? Mindfulness comes in many forms and practices, but the results are the same: the activation of the para-sympathetic nervous system, which naturally stimulates the body’s healing and de-stressing systems. Below are a few ways to classify mindfulness practices and some simple things to try. The key is PRACTICE. Make a clear time and place for your practice and commit to this time and place over time. A little goes along way. Even a minute of mindfulness has been shown to have a positive effect.
Unlike the traditional self-contained classroom led by one teacher, or one teacher and an aide, BASIS Independent Brooklyn students in grades 1–4 benefit from the expertise of multiple full-time teachers, including our Learning Expert Teachers (LET), who guide students as they move between classrooms throughout the day. Students thus have two full-time, qualified teachers in each class, resulting in a unique, pedagogically-robust classroom environment.
Our newest Associate Director of Admissions Sarah Ellerton wanted to help prospective families learn more about transferring into BASIS Independent Brooklyn during middle school from the experts—students who had just made the change themselves. Sarah sat down with several recent transfer students and reports back on what she learned.
When I joined the BASIS Independent Brooklyn Admissions Team last month and started leading tours for prospective families, I noticed the same question coming up again and again from parents of middle school students: How hard is it to start at BASIS Independent Brooklyn in middle school?
Ms. King integrates folk dances across her Movement Classes for our youngest students in preschool, kindergarten, and grade 1. She wanted to share with our families some of the thinking behind her choice.
I teach folk dances in all my Movement Classes. They are a fun and exciting way to introduce children to cultural movement traditions while learning movement patterns and sequences, listening to and responding to music, and engaging socially and cooperatively with their classmates. These dances and songs scaffold in difficulty as the grades progress from simple Circle Dances/Games to more complex formations and sequences like Square Dancing and Contra Dancing.
One of our BASIS Independent Brooklyn parents strongly recommended bringing Sam Chase to campus to work with students on mindfulness and meditation. She had seen Mr. Chase work wonders with her hedge fund employees who juggle high-stress projects and competing time demands. As part of Wellness Week for our Upper School, Mr. Chase spoke with our students about the use of mediation and mindfulness to reduce academic anxiety.
"When we have high demands on us, it’s tempting, as I say to students, to 'bulldoze,' but we have to insert pauses to think at our clearest and take stock of what we’re doing," said Dr. Cruz, Director of Student Affairs for the Upper School at BASIS Independent Brooklyn after Mr. Chase's session. "In order to learn well (inside or outside of the classroom), we have to pause, breathe, and listen—to others as well as our own thoughts and questions."
Imagine that you are back at school sitting in a class you excel in. You might be a little bored because you already read ahead in the textbook, and you zone out when the teacher talks. You know this already! Or maybe you’re in a class you don’t like very much because you struggle with the material. Why is the teacher going so fast? You barely understood the last lesson! Now imagine there was a second teacher in that classroom, one who knew your strengths and areas for improvement, who could work with you to make sure you were achieving your potential in the best way for you. That second teacher in the class helping students while the first teacher leads the class creates the SET/LET relationship at BASIS Independent Brooklyn.
Acclaimed adolescent NYU psychiatrist and educator Jess Shatkin, author of Born to Be Wild - Why Teens Take Risks and How We Can Keep Them Safe stopped by our campus this week to help change our perspective on adolescence and how to support young adults aged 12-26.
"Dr. Shatkin is one of the nations' leading experts on adolescence and also happens to be one of my very favorite professors—beloved by all who have the privilege to study with him at NYU," said Alexandra Hancock, Managing Director of Marketing and Communications for all BASIS Independent Schools. "What’s also great is that Jess approaches the themes of teens and risk taking from the perspective of a concerned dad himself."
Join BASIS Independent Brooklyn on October 17 at 6:30 PM to hear insights from acclaimed adolescent NYU psychiatrist and educator Jess Shatkin, author of Born to Be Wild - Why Teens Take Risks and How We Can Keep Them Safe. Dr. Shatkin will discuss the main themes of his new book and answer questions from the audience as part of our BASIS Independent Thought Speaker Series.
Inspired by the blissful feeling of uncovering connections, our blog Eureka! Brooklyn is about sharing moments that capture the essence of what it is to be a BASIS Independent student, teacher, administrator, or family.