The past two years (a 5-year project in development) has allowed us to help thousands of children develop tools to self-soothe. We have been working with many schools in Denver and after my move to Maine 2.5 years ago I have been working within the Portland Public School system. The common thread among all the schools is that they are looking for a trauma-informed way to help all children thrive.
Below is an article that was recently published in a local paper here in Maine. I would love to hear from you if you think this could help your community- Maine, Colorado and beyond!
Happy New Year! May this year be filled with health and peace.
Portland-Area Children Improving Emotional Health with Five-Minute Yoga and Mindfulness Videos
Scientifically Proven Techniques Make Significant Impact In Self-Regulation
PORTLAND, Maine, November 7, 2018 — Local Portland children and teachers are gaining tools to improve attention, emotional regulation and overall well-being in just five minutes a day. Julie Campilio, owner and founder of Radiant Beginnings Yoga, is helping Portland elementary schools through a video curriculum of breathing exercises and mindfulness techniques designed to calm the nervous system and prepare young bodies for learning. Currently being used in five local schools, Campilio is looking to expand throughout the state of Maine.
The five-minute, web-based videos lead children and teachers through deep breathing techniques, mindfulness and guided relaxation. The results of the videos are decreased stress, anxiety and aggressive behavior. Additionally, they also increase emotional regulation, self-control, compassion and attention. Through techniques proven to shrink the amygdala, the section of the brain that controls fear and other emotions, participants are calmer and happier.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in seven children aged two to eight years old has a mental, behavioral or developmental disorder. The most common diagnosis is attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Research shows that children at Parkside Head Start in Portland had a significant decrease in hyperactivity, as well as behavioral difficulties and overall stress after they watched the Radiant Beginnings Yoga videos three times per week for four weeks, in conjunction with twice-weekly in-person mindfulness and movement sessions from OmKids, a children’s wellness program in Portland, Maine.
“There isn’t enough mental health support for kids. I have been working with youths ages three to eighteen for more than a decade. I have seen first-hand how yoga and mindfulness can impact different aspects of a child’s life – from relationships to learning,” says Campilio.
Working in collaboration with Dr. Bruce Thompson, developmental psychologist at the University of Southern Maine, Campilio is currently working in 20 classrooms in Riverton Elementary with children ages five to ten. The teachers in these classrooms are using the videos three to five times per week.
“An aspect we are evaluating at Riverton Elementary School is how these videos improve the teacher’s wellbeing, in addition to the emotional and behavioral improvements seen in the students,” said Campilio.
In October 2018, Campilio was featured in The New York Times discussing how yoga and mindfulness can help youths manage anxiety. The special section featured alternatives to traditional conflict resolution techniques used in schools.
Kelly Thornhill, assistant principal at East End Community School in Portland, Maine, said, “Whenever students are sent to the office before they go back we do one of your videos. It’s been so helpful in regulating them and getting them ready to return to the classroom.”
Dr. Beverly Stevens, principal at Ocean Avenue Elementary School in Portland, Maine, said, “The teachers that started working with the Radiant Beginnings Videos were astounded by the difference in their students. Once other teams heard of the impact, they also wanted it for their classroom. We observe students using the mindfulness techniques spontaneously across settings at school.”
Through a program designed to support students who have experienced trauma, Campilio has worked with Chris Salamone, social worker at Ocean Avenue Elementary. “Portland’s large population of refugee and homeless children are particularly at-risk for mental health issues. Many have lived through extremely traumatic experiences, but don’t have access to resources to support their emotional well-being,” said Campilio. “The techniques adhere to a trauma-informed approach, so the entire focus is to help children feel safe and supported.”
About Radiant Beginnings Yoga
Radiant Beginnings Yoga offers stress management solutions to children and adults. Through deep breathing techniques, mindful movement and guided relaxation every program is designed to help individuals increase social-emotional health, emotional-regulation and stress-resilience. Radiant Beginnings Yoga is based in Denver, CO and Portland, ME. Learn more at radiantbeginningsyoga.com.