Bullying | Local Non-profit Addresses School Violence

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With all the tragedy and violence in our schools today, teaching kids self regulation and stress reduction is more important than ever. Since 2004, CALMING KIDS (CK): is a local Boulder non-profit, has been focused on immediate and direct impact to reduce bullying and increase self regulation in kids and teens. 

On February 14, 2018, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida experienced one of the deadliest school shootings in American history. This tragedy Bullying in schoolshas left Americans across the country heartbroken, frustrated, and wondering how we, as individuals, can make a difference in stopping this vicious and violent behavior.

CALMING KIDS has been addressing this issue for years. CK, a Colorado 501(c)3, was created after the tragic shooting at Columbine High School in 1999, for this exact reason. For the past 13 years, they have worked with teachers and students in Colorado and around the world to reduce bullying and violence in schools. In addition, to helping develop better coping mechanisms and increasing students’ compassion for one another.

Calling your state representatives and supporting today’s youth in creating safer schools in the long term is undeniably important. But, what can we do right now, TODAY?

If you want to make a positive difference and feel passionately about ending school violence, then the best place to start is in the schools! This is exactly what CALMING KIDS is doing with their classroom programs.

CALMING KIDS has impacted 3,500 teachers and over 40,000 students through their work in schools locally, nationally and globally.

Anti Bullying Teaching Program

There is still so much more to be done. CK is looking to expand its impact and wants to get the word out to as many school teachers and administrators, students, parents, and to those who feel concerned about this issue. We CAN make a difference and help to create a non-violent world, stop bullying in schools and help kids focus.

In addition to classroom programs, CK has also produced a variety of support materials for teachers and students:

  • including classroom workbooks,
  • self regulation posters,
  • educational films

and a new pocket sized movement, mindfulness and meditation book, Finding Calm in a Moment. This book guides students of all ages through a variety of simple practices to release stress and self regulate immediately. Get involved NOW! Visit our website to learn more www.calmingkids.org

For more information contact: calmingkidsyoga@gmail.com or 303-530-3860.

Anti Bullying Program: Boulder’s Southern Hills Middle School

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Boulder’s Southern Hills Middle hosts social emotional learning week

By Amy Bounds Staff Writer Boulder Daily Camera

POSTED:   10/01/2017

Learning from anti bullying programAnti Bullying Program

Southern Hills Middle School students learned about yoga, meditation and other mindfulness activities along with participating in team-building activities with Avid4 Adventure. Students took a walk around a nearby lake to learn about mindful movement, learned calming breathing techniques and heard about the importance of a growth mindset during a day of workshops.

“We felt compelled to do this,” said Kristen Kron, a counseling intern at Southern Hills. “With the stress and anxiety students are feeling in this crazy world, they weren’t feeling very present. We wanted to give them strategies to help them be healthy and happy.”

Southern Hills counselors Victoria Valencia and Chris Congedo developed the Boulder school’s first Social Emotional Learning week with help from Kron and Dee Marie, founder of Calming Kids.

“No matter where you go, there’s this constant bombardment of stimuli,” Marie said. “There’s no way to disconnect. To shift to empathy, compassion and higher reasoning, we have to strengthen the part of the brain in middle schoolers that’s not fully developed.”

Southern Hills’ efforts are part of an overall school district focus on social emotional learning. The district previously brought in a five-member team from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning to conduct an analysis.

This school year, the district also hired 10 elementary counselors, two behavioral health advocates and a half-time coordinator. Before, only middle and high schools had counselors, with elementary counselors identified by schools at all levels as the highest budget priority.

At Southern Hills, Valencia said, she’s seeing lots of anxious kids.

“We want them to have tools available to help them cope with difficult situations and emotions,” she said. “We want kids to learn how to assess what they’re feeling and learn how to self-regulate.”

Kron added that the goal is to keep the project going by consistently integrating the practices students learned from the anti bullying program into the school day.

During the week, she led a session on meditation, asking students to sit with backs straight and focus only on their breathing. Then, she had them relax their muscles, one after the other, with music playing and lights dimmed.

“Right now, I just want you to breathe,” she told them.

Some students said they found the lesson relaxing, while others said it was challenging to stay still or not be distracted by noise around them.

Seventh-grader Julia Abboud said she liked that the workshops provided practical advice, but preferred more active ones to those with a lecture format.

She added that she would like the school to add a regular meditation time.

“That was pretty relaxing,” she said.

Classmate Tory O’Brien said her favorite was yoga.

“My mom goes to yoga every morning, but I’ve never been to a class. I was surprised, but I was actually pretty good at it. It was really fun.”anti bullying program for kids

Anti bullying for kids in the West Bank – March 2017

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Anti bullying for kids in Palestine

~ Written by Dee Marie

CALMING KIDS (CK) in the West Bank: The beauty of the countryside combined with the bubbling effervescent energy of the children and teens has created a joyful eye-opening experience for all of the Boulder-Nablus Sister City delegates. We have visited three schools together as a group, two in Nablus and one in Qosra Village over the past 12 days. I, Dee Marie, director of CALMING KIDS: Creating a Non-Violent World have been blessed to interact with schools teaching Anti bullying for kids on four other occasions.

One remarkable afternoon in Odala Village instructing 80 girls ranging from 7 to 14 years old. Their enthusiasm, focused efforts and warm welcome and thankfulness was just the beginning of the many heart-opening experiences I have had since in the West Bank.

Another morning traveling to Madama Village to teach a group of 40 male athletes, 11 – 17 years of age, was a fantastic adventure of balance, strength, surrender and humbled success for all who participated in anti bullying for kids program. The Minister of Education met us at Awarta Village School for girls. She witnessed a joyous gathering of 35 gals ages 10 – 16 practicing mindful movement, yoga asana, dancing, stretching and meditation. The intensity of movement and love escalated to its fullest at the American Academy in Nablus. An entire school day was enriched with yoga classes back to back serving 185 students, mixed boys and girls, from Kindergarten to 8th grade.

Wow, what wonderful opportunities it has been to serve the big eyed, bright smiles and bountiful energy of the students in this part of the world.

The networking magic of the Boulder-Nablus Sister City Project was able to connect CALMING KIDS with the An Najah University’s Dean of Education. Dr. Alia Asalia arranged two CK teacher trainings, one for elementary age staff and one for Middle and high school instructors.

The most striking thing as an American teaching in Nablus was the amazing amount of men in the teaching profession. Unlike the US where it is predominantly women in the field of teaching. The mixed gendered energy in the training room opened the doors for an enriching experience of laughter, seriousness, intellectual curiosity and deep spiritual connection. The educators were overjoyed with the information regarding breathing and self regulation.

As the instructor I left beaming in the light of Spirit that has led me on this path. In my own small way helping to create a non – violent world.

There is one more morning of two teacher trainings where the women teachers will have a separate training from the men teachers. Stay tuned for the update on those workshops.

Checking In for Self-Regulation

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Click here for a 2 minute anti bullying video demonstrating Checking In: CALMING KIDS ~ Checking-In

Checking InThe First Step Toward Mindfulness At CALMING KIDS, we strongly believe that a child who practices nonviolence is also a child who practices self-awareness and mindfulness. Children who are aware of themselves also tend to be more aware of the effects their actions have on others.

anti bullying videoOftentimes, kids who feel frustrated or angry will lash out by bullying or hitting one another before even taking a moment to assess what they are feeling and why they’re feeling that way. We created the CALMING KIDS curriculum for schools to teach children to pause after experiencing whatever it is they’re feeling, so that they may understand it — and themselves — better. As a result, the amount of bullying and violent acts among children is greatly reduced.

The first step to helping children achieve mindfulness is to teach them to “check-in” with their bodies and minds. With younger children, ages preschool through third grade, it can prove extremely helpful to start with an introduction to body awareness.

For children of all ages, CALMING KIDS approaches mindfulness with an exercise called “Checking In.” Children are encouraged to check in once or twice a day, especially when not feeling their happiest. They are taught to observe their postures and breath, which will help bring awareness to which emotions they’re feeling, and the kinds of thoughts that are coming to mind. In checking in, kids are learning how to get in touch with themselves and gain more control over how they express themselves. For a short anti bullying video tutorial on Checking In ~ click image above