Emotional Literacy and Meditation – Another way TAYB prepares students to succeed in life.

Meditation is a hot topic of conversation in today’s world. We are quickly learning of the benefits it brings both at a neurological and emotional level, as well as the positive long-term impact it can have in someone’s life. That is why the practice is becoming more and more common at schools and programs such as TAYB’s After School & Summer Camp programs.

Schools like The Robert W. Coleman Elementary School in Baltimore, MD have been using mindful meditation as an alternative to detention for the past few years. They report that in the last year, they have seen zero suspensions and no suspensions so far this year. And they are not alone, other schools using mindful meditation have shown a dramatic decrease in suspensions, bullying, and fighting as well as an increase in attendance and performance.

Unfortunately, students from underserved neighborhoods don’t always have access to these “in trend” wellness activities as quickly or as consistently as their peers from more fortunate circumstances do. Because we want to level the playing field, and ensure all students are ready to face life’s challenges with emotional soundness and an arsenal of tools for dealing with life’s curveballs, TAYB brought in the evidence-based Triumph Program to its Satellite Sites last summer.

As their website explains, “Triumph is a systematic, consistent and simple program that was designed with students and teachers in mind. Triumph takes into consideration the multiple responsibilities educators have, and gives an effortless, easy to use program with limitless benefits for the students and teachers. Designed to help students become goal oriented, empowered, centered, creative, and socially responsible members of society. It includes a set of tools and strategies to help students get in touch with their unlimited potential to create the extraordinary life they deserve”

Through affirmation and calming 5-minute audios that are easy to implement, students (and staff) are able to settle their mind, find power within, and rewire their brain with positive phrases and reassuring statements regarding their own self-worth, intelligence and power!

In under one year of implementing this program at the satellite sites, we are already seeing results! Students from the Morningside K-8 Academy site participated in the filming of a promo video for the program and were interviewed by triumph’s founder Beatriz.

Students were asked questions such as “How do you think the audio helps you”, and “What is your favorite part of the audio” and their answers were amazing and inspiring! Students claimed they are able to manage their emotions, are able to get rid of jitters before tests by recalling the messages in the audio and are even inspiring their parents to take up meditation!

We are so excited for what is to come as we continue to explore the impact that Triumph and like-minded programs can do for our students and cannot wait to share the promo video with you once it is published!

Click here to learn more about what we do at our outreach after school programs and summer camps.

 

 

 

What A Summer: Thomas Armour Youth Ballet’s Outreach Summer Camps 2017

They came, they saw, they danced. Another summer camp season has passed, leaving behind a plethora of memories and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

We welcomed over 250 campers across our four outreach sites this past summer and for the first time ever offered music, art, spoken word and cooking classes! Of course, with 8 hour days, the kids were still able to participate in reading and dance classes- which by the way,  included Bollywood, Salsa, Flamenco and Musical Theater, Hip-Hop and West African in addition to ballet, modern and tap.

Thomas Armour Youth Ballet’s  amazing staff went above and beyond to make sure the kids were not too bummed about the reading…. Ms. Deborah turned her classroom into the setting of “The Hideout” novel by Peg Kehret which made her classroom look like a hotel room, enchanting all the students. On some days, they took the books outside and read under a tree while drinking cold lemonade… oh to be 10 again….

As if that wasn’t exciting enough, students participated in field trips to an African Drumming Workshop, the Frost Science Museum, Key Biscayne Nature Center and Seminole Theater. 

Frost_Museum_Field_Trip_2017

Non-field trip days were exciting too though! Campers received visits from Gabie’s Bus, Oral Health Institute and YES Institute throughout the 8 weeks.

We are so happy with the success of our camps, and beyond thrilled about all the memories and friendships that were made all while improving reading scores, gaining life skills, and DANCING.

Still want to hear more about the summer camp we had this year? Check out the video below!

 

Our Connect Miami Project At After School Program In Little Haiti

It was a time where students, parents and staff, worked together on a community project, in a way that was different for ever

yone. We worked on creating a “sawdust alfombra” meaning a carpet made from sawdust. In several countries, this is an Easter tradition as communities would work together to create a colorful display on specific streets. These are judged for competition (design, colors, how elaborate, creativity) in some Central American countries during “The Holy Week” of Easter bringing many to watch and admire these carpets that sometimes take up many blocks.

At Morningside we began by coloring the sawdust with food coloring. However, that was insufficient, so we added paint and or dye, to get more vibrant colors. Some little ones added too much water and were saddened when they realized we were not making soup. Sadly, they had to wait a day or two to allow the sun to dry it up. After that, all groups were listening and trying to follow directions to avoid messing up.

When colors were reached that satisfied each group, we put them out to dry in the sun. Days later, instead of using the ground where school children travelled, we built frames  so that we could move them after completion. We have three classes and within each class, we had smaller groups of 3-4 students. Then they were charged with a theme and whatever they chose to contribute to that theme, they will design a cardboard mold that the sawdust will go in. Eventually, the preK-1st grade students used shapes to create a robot or scarecrow, depending on your angle when viewing.

The 2nd – 3rd grade students depicted a floral arch used as the background for beautiful pictures or a variation of pinwheels, if you’re looking from a side angle.

Finally, the 4th-5th grade students had much more to sort out because there were many “chiefs and no Indians.” Eventually, they designed a colorful sign with the letters: TAYB. The landscape surrounding it merged many colors to exhibit the diversity and unity among them; yet, their freedom to innovate. The last box was an abstract design to complete our carpet.

There were happy times and frustrating moments; clean areas and messy, dirty workstations; Ms. Deborah had a lot of dirty clothes while Ms. Judith did not enjoy sawdust in her hair and face. Mr. Jacques fingers stiffened from stapling cardboard shapes and Mr. Bernard sunburnt from building the frames. Ms. Jeanette was snapping pictures while monitoring those argumentative moments when group members were trying to abandon one group for another that looked more successful at that moment. Finally, Ms. Dashon, created the banner by having all students, parents and staff, trace one hand and decorate it, promoting that connection.

Several parents helped along the way in various ways and everyone had fun. The best part was the big smile when that finished product was displayed.  Almost daily, some students are asking when will we do it again while others suggested, let’s do it for Christmas. Regardless of a next time, clearly our sawdust creations conceived memories that will linger for ages, big and small, proudly show off to any person entering the premises of TAYB Morningside.