Yoga for the Special Child Practitioner
Teaching artist statement:
I believe that at various times in our lives, we’re all learners and we’re all teachers! If we’re fortunate, we continue to grow and learn with each passing year. It’s never too late (or too early, for that matter) to begin learning a new skill. This stretching of ourselves (pun intended) is what keeps us invigorated. A favorite quote states, “Growth itself contains the gem of happiness.” The more we continue to challenge ourselves throughout life, through exposure to new and unfamiliar experiences, the more energy and passion follows.
Through my teaching, I provide a safe environment for people to begin, or expand, their yoga practice. Yoga promotes not only incredible physical benefits, but also tremendous emotional benefits. I offer a space for people to feel safe to try new things that they may not have even thought possible for themselves. Together, the student and I practice the essential components of yoga – chanting, breathing, yoga poses, and relaxation. The goal is to have a connection with one another, for the student to connect with themselves, and to have some fun along the way!
Within her career, Jen Novak has worn many hats that now serve her well as a Yoga for the Special Child Practitioner. After earning a B.S. in Child and Family Studies from the University of New Hampshire, Jen received a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Fairfield University.
She began her career as a Family Therapist working in an intensive home-based program that served families with children with severe emotional and behavioral needs. Jen went on to work in a Care Coordination program where she supported families by referring and connecting them with non-traditional therapeutic supports and service. There are many forms of therapy available to us, and Jen saw the value in considering each person’s unique interests and abilities when providing supports.
Working in an out-patient Child Guidance Clinic, Jen provided therapy for children and families with a wide variety of social, emotional, behavioral, and mental health challenges. Using a team approach with parents and community providers, Jen discovered these to be among the greatest predictors for success for those children and families.
After her work in direct therapeutic services, Jen used her education in child development and family therapy as an early childhood consultant. Jen provided support to parents, caregivers, teachers, and children from age birth to five. Consulting in settings such as public and private preschools, daycares, Head Start and School Readiness programs, and in the homes of these families, Jen saw the positive impact and ability for change in young children.
Jen is now the mother of two young boys who keep her on her toes. She enjoys being a mom, Yoga for the Special Child practitioner, and volunteer in the special needs community. Her younger son has special needs, so Jen understands first-hand the gifts and challenges that come with having a child with different abilities. Jen continues to strive to expand her own yoga practice and enjoys sharing yoga with her family. She believes in the transformative power of yoga and hopes to share this experience with your child.
Jen joined South Shore Conservatory’s Creative Arts Therapies Department in 2016.