Lightbridge Academy Launches New Yoga and Mindfulness Program
The cutting edge enrichment program benefits children as they learn how to use their breathing to relieve their stress, calm their minds and nervous system.
October 14, 2020 // Franchising.com // ISELIN, NJ - Lightbridge Academy, an early education and child care franchise with more than 50 locations open across the Mid-Atlantic and another 50 under construction or in development, is not only The Solution for Working Parents®, but a leader in innovative curriculum. The newest of these offerings is Lightbridge Academy’s Yoga and Mindfulness enrichment program.
The program, which was rolled out systemwide to all centers in September, offers students yoga and mindfulness practices included as part of their weekly thematic units. Children benefit from each of these practices by learning how to use their breathing to relieve stress and calm their minds and nervous system. Accompanied by music, simple games and at-home activities, the exclusive program also helps children to release negative emotions while gaining independence and coping skills.
“Lightbridge Academy’s Seedlings Early Childhood Education Curriculum sets itself apart by focusing on a holistic approach to child care and early education,” said Lightbridge Academy VP of Education & Training Jennifer Romanoff. “On an ongoing basis, we evaluate our curriculum to make sure we stay true to that philosophy. For example, we rolled out STREAM classes, with a focus on technology and math, and recently, we started discussing implementing a program that focused on another important area — mental health.”
Pre-COVID-19, Lightbridge Academy began working with Bari Koral, a beloved children’s recording artist and internationally recognized kids yogi, to create a curriculum focused on yoga and mindfulness for children. Koral was the host of Yogapalooza, the first national kids yoga TV show and also the original yoga teacher for JetBlue airlines. She has performed numerous times at the White House and has been featured in People Magazine and The New York Times.
“My whole call to action has always been that mindfulness and yoga need to be a part of early education,” said Koral. “When Lightbridge Academy reached out to me, it was clear that they were really ahead of the curve in looking for ways to provide children with the tools they need to self-regulate and calm themselves down. We integrated my songs, mindfulness tracks, and yoga cards into Lightbridge Academy’s specific curriculum to create something really special.”
Romanoff notes that Lightbridge Academy started piloting the Yoga and Mindfulness Program at select locations in early 2020 and immediately received rave reviews from both teachers and students. “These breathing and mindfulness techniques benefit not only children, but also the teachers, as they are able to experience the benefits themselves,” she said. “Instead of being an extracurricular activity, the program is connected to Lightbridge Academy’s thematic-based curriculum units. For instance, the October theme is based on Halloween, so commonly recognized yoga poses will be renamed to the spider pose and the pumpkin pose - and of course, the actual cat pose - and teachers are able to read children a story that ties it all together. In addition, Koral has created an at-home track that supports parents teaching them how they can promote mindfulness at home.”
When COVID-19 hit, many centers had to temporarily close, but Lightbridge Academy stayed in touch with Koral and offered families complimentary Facebook Live videos everyday that included the Yoga and Mindfulness curriculum to help children release endorphins while quarantined at home.
“Once we were ready to reopen, there was so much talk about stress and anxiety for both parents and students,” said Romanoff. “I felt very strongly that this program was something we should prioritize moving forward. In addition, Bari has made the process easy and streamlined with curriculum sheets and a training program to ensure staff are able to properly implement the curriculum. Bari also provided training on how our staff could use mindfulness and yoga as a way to combat stress themselves. In these tense and uncertain times, it is so important to utilize these kinds of techniques to promote well-being.”
Now, the program is being offered at all Lightbridge Academy centers, with curriculum cards made available to franchisees, along with the music and movement content that Koral has created. “The best part of these techniques is that they can be done at any point throughout the day,” said Romanoff. “Teachers can connect different aspects of the program to lunchtime, outdoor activities or anything else.”
Romanoff also notes that these mindfulness and yoga techniques offer children the types of skills they can utilize for the rest of their life, such as the ability to use breathing to calm the nervous system, release tension and focus on positivity. “During such a stressful time, this has been an amazing enhancement to our curriculum, and it is great to offer a way for our franchise owners to add value to the lives of all Lightbridge Academy children, staff and parents,” she said.
About Lightbridge Academy
Established in 1997, Guy and Julia Falzarano founded the company based on core values and a Circle of Care philosophy that places equal importance on the needs of children, their families, teachers, center owners and the community. Lightbridge Academy provides early education and child care to children ages six weeks through kindergarten, as well as special programming for children up to 10 years old for summer camp and a new school age remote learning program. The company franchised in 2011 to expand their distinctive concept throughout the Mid-Atlantic region; it currently has over 119 child care centers either open, under construction or in development throughout Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia.
SOURCE Lightbridge Academy
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