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“Cookie Doughga:” A Mindful Success

Barbara C. Wilson Preschool hosts local author, yoga instructor

“Stop, look, and listen,” Barbara C. Wilson (BCW) Preschool teachers and teacher assistants cheered, as the students prepared to welcome children’s yoga and mindfulness teacher Margot Harris, author of the book, “Cookie Doughga: A Book about yoga, mindfulness and cookies!

"Cookie Doughga" author Margot Harris poses with her book and BCCS studentsOn May 15, Margot hosted short mindfulness and yoga classes in each of the BCW classrooms from 9:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. The aim of this program was to provide the students, ages 3 to 5, with an opportunity to have an educational, enriching, and fun experience while they explore concepts of breath work, sound healing, body and mind awareness, and emotional regulation.

“I do feel yoga is a great thing for our students,” Diane M. Condy, Barbara C. Wilson Preschool Director, said. “It helps to calm them and center them.”

After the students and teachers gathered in a circle around Margot, she passed an expandable ball, what she calls a “Breathing Ball” to each of the students. She guided them through deep breaths and then told the students to say, “Goodnight breathing ball!”

Next, she began to sing to the students. Through her song, she instructed the students to rub their hands together, take a deep breath, wiggle their fingers, shake their arms, and clap their hands.

“Welcome to yoga, everyone,” Margot sang as she and the students tapped their laps to the beat. “As we sit on the floor, let’s have some fun. Sit up tall, time to hear the singing bowl.”

Margot brought out a mini-singing bowl, a metal bowl used for meditation and relaxation and chimed it. This officially began the yoga session guided by her book, “Cookie Doughga.”

“Cookie Doughga” follows the story of Maria and her mama as they make cookies shaped like yoga poses and practice the poses together. In the book, while waiting for the cookies to bake in the oven, they practiced 10 yoga poses, such as Mountain Pose, Warrior Pose, Tree Pose and Cobra Pose.

At the end of the book, when the cookies are finished baking, Maria worries that the cookies will not be good enough. But then, Mama reminds Maria that when big feelings “circle and spin,” to connect with the body and check in. Maria realizes she has the tools to send her feelings “out to sea,” by placing her hand on her heart and feeling her heartbeat, feeling the ground under her feat, taking a deep breath and a moment to reflect.

Through her sessions, Margot said she enjoys seeing students choose to engage with the story in their own unique way. Some students choose to move along, while other students choose to listen. She also likes to see the teachers explore some of the practices as well. It is Margot’s hope that through this program, students learn to feel a sense of control and agency of their body and mind, as yoga and mindfulness practices are a fun and engaging pathway for that.

“I was actually quite pleased with how she was able to get down to the child’s level and adapt as she went,” Diane said. “It’s multisensory. She incorporated auditory, visual, and kinesthetic which is great for our children.”

The Barbara C. Wilson Preschool often uses yoga to reinforce motor-imitation skills. Margot’s class was another opportunity for students to move closer to their goals.

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