By Jessica Easthope
For third graders at Immaculate Conception Catholic Academy in Astoria, Queens – it’s their first time seeing and touching a yoga mat. In their brand new wellness center they’re going to soon learn how a yoga mat can keep them healthy.
The 30-thousand-dollar facility, paid for by the Diocese of Brooklyn and donations, will be for more than just yoga. The school is rolling out programs on faith formation, healthy cooking, nutrition and even had one on dental hygiene.
“She came and she was talking about how you should brush your teeth two times a day for two minutes,” said 8-year-old Ian Klingman.
Over the last nearly two years, studies have shown kids are feeling the effects of the pandemic. Hospitals have seen more mental health emergencies among kids.
The American Academy of Pediatrics found emergency room visits for children in a mental health crisis rose by 24 percent for kids ages five to 11 and 31 percent for kids ages 12 to 17.
“Using this room for relaxation, bringing in kids to relieve stress, a lot of kids are under a lot of stress and we can offer these kids activities to help relieve that stress,” said principal Brother Joseph Rocco.
The best part – it’s not just for students, teachers and even parents can participate in wellness programs too.
“If we want our children to be well educated and well informed we need the parents to be part of that and there are many issues parents would like to have knowledge and clarification on so they can help their children,” said Brother Joseph.
Their feet can’t reach the floor, but Brother Joseph says knowing how to be healthy is the first step to reaching their full potential.
“I like how we get to learn new stuff and important things to keep you healthy and make your parents happy,” Ian said.
The center was created to be a place where kids can find their center and stay well – mind, body and spirit.