Mindful (Mon)Days

Practice Mindfulness as a way to be present in the moment (and classroom).

Photo of Garreth Heidt
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Mindfulness practice in schools, at any age, has shown a hugely beneficial return on a small investment of time.  At both the personal and systemic level, students who can self-regulate are better self-advocates and have the skill to take charge of and responsibility for their actions and learning at levels that exceed those not so practiced.  Such self-awareness has positive effects on students' character, decreasing aggression, increasing understanding and empathy.

Additionally, teachers, admin, all staff, practicing Mindfulness at least once/day . . . ?  This can benefit the entire ecosystem of the school/district.

This idea is simply to train a cadre of teachers in each building in simple mindfulness techniques.  The teachers would then run building-wide training for other teachers to help implement district wide.  

The practice consists of anywhere from 1--3 minutes of quiet, focused attention to breathing, seated or standing.  However, lessons can be created for biology or phys. ed. / health classes that focus on stress reduction, increased knowledge of the brain and how it processes threats and stress, etc.

Total time commitment:

  • Training of initial cadre of teachers--1-2 days of PD
  • Training of building staff--approx 8 hours with ongoing, 1/month checkups (@ 30 minutes/session)
  • Class time (with lessons)--once/week 42 minute class period for 6 weeks then once/day 1--3 minute mindfulness practice
  • Class time (without full lessons)--once/day approx 5 minutes.

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Photo of Erin Quinn
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I used this book with my students: http://learning2breathe.org/

They loved it. I also used calm.com to help us centre ourselves when we needed it.

Photo of Garreth Heidt
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I thought the name was familiar.  L2B does a lot of work in and around Philadelphia.  The book's author is at West Chester.  Thanks for the  link Erin

Photo of Sarah Swain
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https://med.virginia.edu/mindfulness-center/continue-your-practice/audio-recordings/

These are great pre-recorded 5-15 minute mindfulness exercises!

Photo of Kim Vinh
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I participated in a mindfulness training for teachers and loved it. My school used this organization: http://missionbe.org/, though I'd love to hear what others exist to train students and teachers. It would be so powerful to be built in weekly as you suggested!

Photo of Garreth Heidt
Team

Hi, Kim.  There are a lot of different trainings.  One of the more commercial is the "MindUp" program from Scholastic books, which is actually based on an initiative put forth by the actress Goldie Hawn.  However, I've been the Omega Institute in Rheinbeck, NY for a "Mindfulness in Educaiton" retreat (one of the most fantastic things ever!) and discovered a plethora of programs.  I attended a workshop at Omega with Daniel Rechtschaffen and he has worked in numerous capacities to help propel schools in this direction. https://www.eomega.org/workshops/teachers/daniel-rechtschaffen

I also know there are schools that are doing this, but, like so many other such initiatives, they are islands, and we need to connect them to a mainland, of sorts.