22 Sep Advent Faculty Spotlight: Marlene Boyette
Self care, confidence, and a sense of community are the three philosophies that Marlene Boyette, Advent’s Yoga & Mindfulness teacher, instills in her students each day. Boyette leads Advent’s Yoga & Mindfulness Program, a unique and integral part of the School’s curriculum. Though this is her first year at Advent, Boyette’s practice has already transitioned seamlessly into the School’s curriculum.
Originally from Clinton, MA, Boyette spent her childhood living in many locations, traveling both domestically and internationally with her family, before settling back in Massachusetts to attend Fitchburg State University. After graduating, Boyette spent several years as a mentor, early childhood educator, and yoga instructor for children in the Boston area. Her experience includes work with Action for Boston Community Development, Citizens Schools, Agassiz Baldwin Community in Cambridge, and Radcliffe Child Care Centers at Harvard University.
While fostering a career in Early Childhood Education, Boyette completed a 150 hour training certification in children’s yoga, and began teaching yoga in the after school program at Agassiz Baldwin Community. As she expanded her yoga program for children, Boyette became certified as an adult yoga instructor by completing a 200 hour trauma informed adult yoga certification.
Though there are many similarities between adult yoga and yoga for children, Boyette says there are specific teaching techniques that set them apart. She especially enjoys teaching children because of the lighthearted tone in class, as well as the emotional connection her students form with the practice of yoga.
“Child yoga certification is far more play based than adult yoga certification”, Boyette said. “In the classroom with children we are playing a lot of games, addressing self regulation techniques, and helping the child connect with who they are and their emotions.”
Through her experience with both adult and child yoga, Boyette has built her own practice and teaches private and public classes throughout Boston. She has taught at Boston Children’s Museum, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston Public Health Commission, Boston Public Library, Sportsmen Tennis and Enrichment Center in Dorchester, Community Arts Center in Cambridge, and various YMCAs across the city. It was at one of these community-based classes that she learned there was an opening at The Advent School.
“The photographer who had taken photos of me teaching at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum told me there was an opening,” Boyette said. “I was teaching a family friendly workshop, and after she watched me teach she sent me the job listing. I looked it over and I thought that I couldn’t have written the opportunity better myself; so here I am.”
“I had first come to Advent for the Basic Principles of the Reggio Emilia Approach workshop with Radcliffe, and thought the School was absolutely beautiful,” she said. “I thought the way Reggio Emilia was being incorporated into education here was very intentional in every space of this building. From then on I was following along in the background, watching on social media. I already knew this was a great school and could be a great fit for me.”
As Boyette settles into her schedule at Advent, she is learning many new faces, names, and personalities. She is feeling welcomed and encouraged in her role, as well as in the Advent community.
“It has been really good,” she said. “The support that Advent’s administration has for the teachers, the community here, and the collective responsibility to educate the children is really different from other schools,” she said. “I can also see that the children and the parents are also very invested and involved in making sure that students receive the most full and rich education possible.”
She is also noticing differences in Advent’s curriculum compared to other schools in the city, and is excited for the potential of her program. The importance of including physical activity during the school day has become a national discussion, and Boyette is grateful that a program is already in place for this at Advent.
“The fact that there is a yoga and meditation program here, built into the curriculum and community, is unheard of. It is not happening in most other schools,” she said. “It is becoming a little more popular through breathing and meditation practices, but yoga is not something that children are guaranteed to receive all year long, for consecutive years. It is not as much a part of the fabric of other schools; the consistency and quality of the program’s offering here is very unique.”
Boyette plans to grow her own practice through more trainings and certifications this year, as she believes that instructors should never stop being students. She also plans to build upon the program that Advent already has.
“I am always trying to learn and grow in my yoga practice,” she said. “All yogis are constantly learning and continuing to deepen their understanding to grow, which should never stop. I especially hope to continue what has already been built here, and to really make sure what has already been built is maintained and further developed.”
As for what she hopes her students take away from her class at the end of the year, Boyette says she hopes they remember that there is more to yoga than solely the physical rewards.
“Yoga has always been less about the physical practice and more about connecting with one’s self,” she said. “At the end of the year, I hope my students leave believing that the practice of yoga is not just about the flexibility of your body, but the ability to be flexible in all situations; to be flexible, compassionate, mindful – not just in yoga practice but in your communities. To be flexible in the relationship that you develop with yourself, and that the relationship you have with yourself, paves the way for the relationships you have with others, and the way you connect with others.”