South Orangetown Central School District

Yesterday morning, first graders in William O. Schaefer Elementary School teacher Liane Kolesar’s class practiced mindfulness as they tried archery for the first time.

Kolesar purchased archery kits through a SOCES PTA grant with the goal of providing the class with an activity that focuses on both social emotional learning and fine motor skills. “Social emotional learning is an essential skill that kids need to thrive in all aspects of life. Archery is a way to bring mindfulness practice to kids while having fun and gaining other skills as well. Archery can increase patience, focus, self-awareness, self-esteem, emotional control and more,” explained Kolesar. “With every release of the arrow, mindful breathing and focus is necessary. Archery also promotes a growth mindset. Children learn not to react if they make a bad shot. Instead, they will use mindfulness strategies to analyze shots and make improvements. In addition, putting the arrow on the bow builds fine motor skills and coordination. Kids help each other as well and exhibit patience.”

Every week, Kolesar hosts “Mindful Mondays” to start the week off on the right foot. Students practice a variety of activities including mindful breathing, mindful seeing, mindful walking, mindful crafts such as “Calm Down Jars,” breath art, mindful painting and more. Kolesar also focuses on the Mood Meter and plays games such as “Do You Feel Me” and focuses on specific feeling words, where they feel them in their body and what they can do if there are unpleasant feelings.

First graders practice archery