Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Elizabeth Currin


This dissertation in practice presents a phenomenological action research study that integrated yoga, meditation, and art therapy into the elementary art room to promote social–emotional learning and combat complex trauma. The practitioner used surveys and interviews to investigate student perceptions of the mindfulness exercises and art therapy activities, as well as explore the psychological and physiological effects of the combined practices. Students in Grades 2–5 engaged in the activities in a weekly after-school Art Club at a public elementary school in downtown Washington, D.C. over the course of 1 month. Results suggest the combined practices had a calming and peaceful impact on participants, as well as reducing hyperactivity, particularly for boys, upper-elementary students, and participants struggling with mental health challenges.


© 2023, Karen Emory Kelly

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