A K-12 Residency Program to Build Focus, Concentration and Self-Discipline in the Classroom
Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally. ~Jon Kabat Zinn
Every school is waging a heroic battle to teach children what they need to know in order to succeed as students and citizens. More than ever, though, our schools have become a place where the expectations and programs that we have chosen to foster high achievement and inclusion are causing stress for both teachers and students. Despite our best efforts, we may find that our school community is in need of something to help these wonderful individuals thrive and maintain a lifelong passion for learning. What’s a school to do? We believe that a mindfulness initiative is the best response.
Current brain research suggests that we learn best when we are in a state of self-discipline, when we move from a fight or flight response (old brain) to a place where our executive functions can reason and make choices (new brain). Before children can self-discipline and harness their own ability to be present and focus their thoughts, however, they need to be taught how to pay attention. This is called the practice of mindfulness.
When a child learns mindfulness with a qualified mindfulness instructor the student quickly forms habits he can apply in the classroom, on the playground and wherever he goes in life. Focus and concentration improve and self-regulation causes an increased sense of calm in nearly every situation. This permeates out into the school community making anti-bullying and character education infinitely more effective and long lasting. Generosity and kindness are also more likely to occur when we practice mindfulness. These techniques need to be reinforced by the classroom teachers and by investing in these techniques your teachers can spend less time disciplining and more time teaching!
According to studies performed by Mindful Schools, the pioneer in educating mindfulness trainers, most children (and especially challenged students) see marked improvement in these three areas:
• Focus and Concentration
• Impulse Control
Here’s how it works:
The Mindful Schools curriculum is designed for a single instructor to meet with each classroom two times per week for fifteen minutes each These smaller segments – field tested in the Oakland, California school system – have proven to be most effective in optimizing student retention and generally cause the least amount of disruption to the typical school day.
16 MODULES FOR K-5
1. Introduction – Mindful Bodies & Listening
2. Mindfulness of Breathing – Finding Your Base
3. Heartfulness – Sending Kind Thoughts
4. Body Awareness
5. Mindfulness of Breathing – Staying at Your Base
6. Heartfulness – Generosity
8. Mindful Seeing
9. Heartfulness – Kind and Caring on the Playground
10. Emotions – Creating Space or Show Me, Tell Me
11. Slow Motion
12. Gratitude – Looking for the Good
14. Mindful Eating
15. Mindful Test Taking
16. Ending Review
18 MODULES FOR MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOLS
1. Emotions/Punching Bag. Mindfulness of Sound
2. Response vs. Reaction. Breath 1 – Anchor
3. It’s Not Just About Me – It’s About us. Heartfulness
5. Fairy Tale Ogre. Breath 2 – Counting
7. Mindful Eating
8. Trees in a Forest. Connection to Others
10. Breath 3 – And More
11. Guest House Poem. Body Scan
12. Soaking in the Good. Loving Things
13. Judgment. Body Awareness
14. Mindful walking
15. Help Yourself First. Heartfulness for Oneself
16. Letting Be. Mindfulness of Emotions
17. Mindfulness in Conversation
18. Gratitude and Appreciation
Mindfulness Fundamentals can be custom-designed to fit your school’s pace of implementation, scheduling and budget. For example, some schools might elect to introduce Mindfulness Fundamentals at a rate of one grade per year (eg Year One: Kindergarten, Year Two: Kindergarten and First Grade, etc.) whereas another school might prefer to introduce the entire school to the program in Year One. It is also possible for schools to pick from the above list of modules based upon their goals for the school.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT & COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
We recommend that a school (or district) create some mindfulness goals that feel organic and achievable for their community. It’s essential to make the adoption of mindfulness as easeful and simple as possible for all concerned. To this end, we strongly recommend a professional development day and a student/parent day to enhance effectiveness of Mindfulness Fundamentals.
A Professional Development workshop will help ground teachers in the practice of mindfulness and help them reinforce the lessons with their students. Our professional development sessions are completely transparent so that the teachers understand the methods and pedagogy involved.
We also recommend a parent/student session on a Saturday afternoon. This will help build awareness, inclusiveness, respect and support for your program’s goals in the family system.
A compendium of mindfulness research can be found at www.mindfulexperience.org
If you are interested in booking Mindfulness Fundamentals for your school, please contact us by clicking here or phoning (800) 364-5381.