A Year of Mindfulness at Dunoon School. During 2015 Bobbi & Shakti taught Mindfulness to teachers, all students and some parents at Dunoon Public School, in the NSW Northern Rivers. We visited the school three times in Term 1 and twice in the following three terms. On each visit we taught a full lesson or a double lesson in each of the four classes – K-1, 1-2, 3-4 and 5-6. We also coached the teachers in leading daily mindfulness sessions in their classrooms in between our visit. And we taught parents ways to include mindfulness in their family lives. We have many fun, creative ways to teach all the aspects of mindfulness. The film was shot during one of our final visits, when we were focusing on gratitude, generosity and kindness.
The MindUP Program and Curriculum
The MindUP Curriculum: Brain-Focused Strategies for Learning – and Living was developed by the Hawn Foundation:www.thehawnfoundation.org It is a comprehensive, classroom-tested, evidence-based curriculum framed around 15 easily implemented lessons that foster social and emotional awareness, enhance psychological wellbeing and promote academic success.
It is published by Scholastic Press – www.scholastic.com.au – in three age- appropriate books: Pre-school – Primary Grade 2; Primary Grades 3 – 5; Primary Grade 6 – High School Year 8
The MindUP program was developed not only to expand students’ social and emotional awareness but also to improve their academic performance. The concepts and vocabulary associated with MindUP will expand the scope of students’ thinking in all academic disciplines.
The MindUP core practices can become a staple routine for the opening and closing of each school day as well as at the moments of transition: settling down after recess, waiting for lunch, moving from one subject to the next. THe MindUP lessons themselves can be worked smoothly into a daily routine and require minimal teacher preparation. Suggested follow-up activities link each lesson to content-area learning.
The MindUP program is currently being implemented in hundreds of schools across the US, Canada, the UK and Latin America. The research results on these programs, and associated research is excellent:http://www.thehawnfoundation.org/research
More Classroom Resources
Meditation Capsules: a Mindfulness Program for Children by Janet Etty-Leal www.meditationcapsules.com
The ten meditation sessions outlined in this book are aimed at children in upper primary schools. The range of Capsules represent various life-skills to be applied in the classroom, at home, on the sports field and in the playground. Each capsule in the program is intended to present children with new and varied learning experiences, which will engage their minds and also their emotions. Relevant, diverse concepts are designed to sequentially build a personal foundation of self-awareness.
To read an article about Janet’s work in schools in Victoria, Australia: http://ianellis-jones.blogspot.com/2011/03/australian-school-children-learn.html Or to listen to her interview on ABC Radio National’s Life Matters program: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lifematters/meditation-for-kids/2999252
Mindfulness in North Coast NSW Primary Schools
“I’m very enthusiastic about the program and the results I can already see with the children”, Louise said. “’Mindfulness’ is now in the vocabulary of the whole school….the teachers, support and admin staff as well as the students. The 5-6 class have really taken to the breathing practice, and love the conversation that follows – about what’s going on inside them. ”You can ask a child if they are being mindful of how they are inter-acting with another child, and you can see them pause and reflect on what they’re doing. As they start to accept their own minds, they’re becoming more empathic. They’re more aware of when other people are having a bad day.”
Read full article: Mindfulness N Coast schools article
Integrating Mindfulness Training into K-12 Education:
Fostering the Resilience of Students and Teachers
by John H Meiklejohn, Journal of Mindfulness (DOI 10.1007/s12671-012-0094-5)
This brief essay summarizes a recently published review article that: examines the
rationale for offering mindfulness training to K-12 teachers and students; reviews relevant
neurobiological and other research on mindfulness; examines data on 3 mindfulness-based
teacher training initiatives and 14 studies of programs for children and teens; highlights the core
features of ten established K-12 mindfulness-based curricula; and addresses the need to continue
building the evidence base for this nascent field through rigorous research.
Read full article: Meiklejohn_K-12_WhitePaperSummary
The Mindfulness Triangle – a helpful way to see all sides of Mindfulness
As a Classroom Teacher it is helpful to think of Mindfulness skills and practices as a Triangle. Each of the three sides takes a particular focus on mindfulness, and each has different purposes, together with skills and practices you can teach. Each side of the triangle supports the other two and makes mindfulness complete.
Depending on your intention and/or the needs of your students, you choose which aspect of Mindfulness you want to focus on today. The Mindfulness Triangle was developed by Bobbi Allan of Mindfulness in Education. See:
Mindfulness teaches Personal Development skills ‘from the inside out’
Many PD programs “amount to teachers telling students what steps to follow, working from the outside in. By contrast, Mindfulness practices provide a missing component, a perspective outside their regular thoughts and emotions that allows students to focus and centre and ground and calm themselves, so they can access their inner knowledge. They will have these skills for life.”
Young Brains: how Mindfulness helps them focus, pay attention and learn
This program from ABC Radio’s All in the Mind’ program, features Judy Willis, the neuroscientist on the team that developed the MindUP Curriculum. It explains some of the neuroscience behind the program. Part of the program features Sheryl Batchelor from the Benevolent Society in Acacia Ridge, Brisbane. She teaches children as young as three years old about key players in their brains: the amygdala (the security guard); the hippocampus (the memory elephant) and the pre-frontal cortex (the wise owl).
Sheryl Batchelor: ” One of the core things we teach the children is that when their amygdale, which is part of their brain that’s the security guard, is going crazy that they can’t make good decisions. So during that time they need to sit still and really just breathe and allow the thoughts to come into their head and just accept them and just let them go. And it takes a lot of practice for that to happen. One boy found it very difficult to sit still; he’d say things like my legs are hurting, my arms are hurting, he just couldn’t really sit still. So we worked on breathing into the pain that he was feeling in his legs and arms so that he could eventually sit still and concentrate on his breathing.
It’s really exciting to see children talking about their amygdala and their pre-frontal cortex. They love it, and the earlier they understand what’s happening in their brain and how they can actually control their emotions through understanding what’s happening to them, they seem to be able to settle themselves down a lot quicker without having to rely on an adult to do that. They can make better decisions and they can be flexible in moving from one task to the next and then back again, without having to forget things. So the whole capacity of their prefrontal cortex area, which in brain terms is the executive function area of the brain, is so important for children to be strong before they start school, otherwise they start to struggle.
Read the transcript of the whole program, or download the audio at:
Gratitude in Education – A Radical View
Dr Kerry Howells lectures and researches in Education at the University of Tasmania. In order to fully realise her passion to teach to the ‘awake’ or truly present learner, no matter what the subject matter, Kerry developed ‘A State of Preparedness’, a unique approach to teaching and learning which addresses student disengagement. Her approach advocates for students to take greater responsibility for the state of being they bring to their learning, and what they can give back out of gratitude. Over the past fifteen years she has demonstrated that traditional teaching and learning practices are enhanced by greater attention to practices of gratitude, and that students’ gratitude is more fully realised when teachers and school leaders first attend to their practice of gratitude.
Gratitude is one of the positive skills developed when focusing on Side 3 of the Mindfulness Triangle.
Watch Kerry Howell’s presesntation at the 2012 Mind & Its Potential Conference: http://www.mindanditspotential.com.au/presentation-2012-gratitude-in-education-a-radical-view-128928.stm?utm_source=Think+%26+Be+Happy&utm_campaign=85f8a6595a-T_BH_19_March_2013&utm_medium=email&ct=t(T_BH_15_January_20131_3_2013)&mc_cid=85f8a6595a&mc_eid=cd87bdfefa
UK School students settle exam nerves with mindfulness
Many year 11 students have recently been sitting GCSE mock exams. It is a stressful time. One teenager, Jess, describes her state of mind. “I was so nervous before the English language exam,” she says. “I did, like, twenty 7/11s.” A “7/11″ is not the latest in teenage kicks, but a breathing exercise characteristic of a movement that is undergoing a surge in popularity in schools, known as “mindfulness”. The 7/11 is a relaxation breathing exercise. Matching the counting to the breath, you breathe in for a count of seven, and out for a count of 11. It works for teachers, too. Another technique much in evidence under mindfulness is called “beditation” – again, not something to panic a teenager’s parents, but simply the practice of meditation while lying down.
Integrating Mindfulness into Teacher Training: a study by Geoffrey T. Soloway et al (2010)
After the first year of implementation, the initial results of our research demonstrated that in comparison to teacher trainees in control classrooms, those taking the Stress and Burnout course exhibited significantly greater increases in mindfulness, life satisfaction, and teaching self-efficacy. Teaching students are reporting an important link between their learning in the Mindfulness and Wellness program and their experience in their practicum classroom:
“My attitude and mind-set can be picked up by the students and when I present myself as a balanced and mindful teacher, the students will respond in a calmer manner. The basics of this course can be used to approach classroom management from an entirely different perspective.”
Jennings and Greenberg (2009) identified social and emotional competence (SEC) and well-being of the teacher as an integral part of cultivating a healthy teacher–student relationship and effective classroom management skills. Further, the growing research investigating the impact of mindfulness practice with children and youth (Burke, 2010) suggested that mindfulness training for preservice teachers will extend beyond a preventive approach to teacher stress and burnout. Mindful teachers will also bring knowledge, skills, and strategies into the classroom for students.
A Great Talk about Why we need to Teach Mindfulness to Adolescents in Schools
This TedX talk is by a High School teacher who has her own adolescent children. It is a passionate and exceptionally clear talk about mindfulness and why we need to teach it to adolescents in all schools.
Read more:mf teacher training soloway et al