We received the following press release from Karla Dueck Thiessen, who is a teacher at Brock Corydon School: Ms. Karla Dueck Thiessen and her students from Brock Corydon School are thrilled to announce that their book, It Starts With A Breath…a book about mindful breathing has been translated into Spanish! Students in the Grade 6 Hebrew Bilingual program are now working to translate the book into Hebrew.
The pandemic has impacted the mental health of children, youth, and their families around the world. Studies show that anxiety, depression, and behavioural issues have risen during the pandemic. “Mental health supports for children are limited but breathing mindfully is one of the simplest ways they can calm their anxiety and fear. Breath is like a hug from the inside out. Even the youngest students can learn mindful breathing strategies” says Karla. She has spent the past year collaborating with educators from Mexico and Argentina to create the Spanish translation. It is available online as a free resource for parents and teachers at https://youtu.be/90tRVCWGSrA. Their original English version can be viewed at https://youtu.be/5eftsTzCIw4. Karla is also working with Manitoba educators to translate the book into Cree and Ojibwe.
As a teacher with over twenty-five years of experience working with young children, Karla is passionate about helping students learn skills to mindfully identify and manage their feelings. “When you give children the tools to become self-aware and confident in their ability to handle their emotions, you reduce the risk of mental health struggles in the future. Mindful breathing relaxes the mind and body so stressful experiences can be calmly observed, reflected upon and responded to in an intentional way. Practicing mindful breathing is a simple, practical, important life skill that calms the nervous system, helping children develop self-regulation, focused attention, and positive well-being.”
When we contacted Karla to tell her we would like to publish her press release in The Jewish Post & News, she replied that “Morah Leah (Bramer) and her Grade 6 class are also in the beginning stages of translating the book into Hebrew (but I’d not sure it will be completed this school year).”
Karla also included reviews that the book has received thus far:
“Karla’s book is a sweet introduction to breathing mindfully. With rising levels of anxiety and stress at all age levels, it is increasingly apparent that we need to intervene early and teach our children how to calm themselves. Through simple poetry and photos of the children from her Nursery/Kindergarten class, Karla teaches young children to pay attention to their breath when they feel upset as a means of returning to a state of peace and calm.” Dr. Michèle Kreijzer, School Counsellor and Author
“Mindfulness seems to be one of the most immediately impactful concepts. I love how Karla boils one thousand pages of Jon Kabat-Zinn into a children’s book.” Kevin Kohut, parent
“This book is a wonderful resource to remind us all that this present moment is the most powerful moment of all.” Keith Macpherson, Author of Making Sense of Mindfulness
“This book is a timely reminder for adults and a great lesson for kids to slow down and breathe. It puts into words what is happening to your body during emotional times. By providing some simple exercises, it gives kids permission to own their feelings and gives them skills to reduce stress and anxiety.” Natalie Sundmark, parent