How One Teacher Uses Nia in the Classroom

As I busily sharpen pencils, label notebooks and individually reflect on the names of my students in third grade, a sense of awe descends. These families are entrusting their most precious gifts into my care and tutelage over the next nine months. Little do they know, over the past six years my joy for Nia and movement has seeped into my teaching practice and their eight-year-old sensory, wiggling balls of wonder and energy are in for a treat!

From day one, our nervous class learns each classmate’s name and we begin our journey of mindful awareness into our thirteen joints and twenty digits. In a glance, I have a formative assessment of the class: “What about balance? Who can follow directions? Who senses their body and its parts in space? Who moves quickly, slowly, not at all?” Keeping our joints and bodies limber becomes as important as reading and writing. Learning to move in our body’s way, we move and groove!

Besides clever energizing dancing and movement breaks, we incorporate new learning into our bodies. We dance the clock as we learn to keep time, stepping to twelve o’clock, three o’clock, six o’clock and nine o’clock—building analog clocks for time. We organize ourselves into clever choreographies of our favorite songs. We sometimes become amoebas rolling on the carpet, scale the floor as starfish, crawl like cats or balance as chimpanzees moving gracefully into upright beings.

I am grateful for my own Nia path these past six years, finding increased health, stamina and flexibility. Nia brings a passion for movement throughout our day, honoring the needs of developing young people to find their own increased stamina and mindful body awareness. By the end of the year, my students balance and dance every day in their own way!


By: Mary Hall