Research has suggested that mediation and mindfulness practice in children can help enhance attention and school performance, decrease anxiety, and provide physical benefits like calming the nervous system. The advantages of learning these skills at an early age are significant, especially since children tend to take to the practice quite easily, unburdened by many things that cause stress in adults.
Ann Brownfield Meara is very familiar with the benefits of yoga and mindfulness. She is a certified Yoga Therapist and Meditation teacher with 13 years of experience who also volunteers her yogic skills every week with the children of Marillac St. Vincent.
Ann leading a stretching exercise in a St. Vincent classroom.
Currently, Ann works in Special Education at New Trier High School. “I also donate my time to meditate with families at Lurie Children’s hospital and teach workshops, retreats, and see clients of all ages by appointment.” She told us.
Ann discovered MSV through living in Lincoln Park, near St. Vincent de Paul Center, but really became interested when she learned about our mission and history of service. “I was thrilled to find your amazing organization right here in my own neighborhood with its long history of supporting Chicago’s children and families,“ She said.
Ann recently developed a 6-week yoga program for the pre-school aged kids at St. Vincent de Paul Center, and volunteers her time each week to lead the class. She says the program, “is designed to reach both academic and social/emotional goals for this age group. Yogic tools such as breathing techniques help kids feel more empowered. I love sharing self-care skills they can master.”
Something exciting about Ann’s work is her ability as a yoga therapist to personalize her practice to the people she works with. In the class at MSV, she aims to reinforce our core values of creativity, respect, and empowerment. Ann says she has a lot of fun teaching the children each week and that they really enjoy the practice too. We are so grateful that Ann generously lends her time and talent to enhance our education programs.
To learn more about our Early Childhood Education program, click here.
If you have an idea for a class to teach or a skill you’d like to share at one of our centers, please fill out our volunteer form.