There are two very important groups of people at school: staff and our kids – so let’s start with our kids.
Life at school is intended to be a vibrant, enriching place to learn, grow & develop skills and qualities for the ‘next’ stage of life.There are so many new experiences from the first, early, days of wearing a nursery jersey to the last day of high school leaving and ‘flags waving’ a hooray and branching into young adulthood. Since, in general, we are living longer our little and bigger ones are exposed to the issues of BIG LIFE at an apparent proportionally younger age in school, at home, in life. Some examples are:
Feeling left out & not included in social play
Managing challenging feelings and behaviours associated with tiredness & developmental changes
Formation of nurturing relationships with other children and siblings
Adapting to new routines and expectations and the effects of ‘over-scheduling’
Pressures associated with practice of music, sport, drama performances
Stress & anxiety associated with formal exams
Social media & associated expectations, self-esteem & confidence, projection of self-image, issues of bullying, distraction and dis-engagement and loneliness
Unavoidable situations in life (i.e. bereavement, family separations)
In the context of our children, life pressure is having significant effects. This graph shows the current age at which depression is affecting our young - IT’S ALARMING. The figures show that around 1 in 30 primary school-aged kids are experiencing major depression. By the time you get to secondary school level it has gone up to 1 in 10 (Zisook et al., 2007). It’s pretty unreasonable to expect any child to do well, to focus, feel calm & concentrate at school if they are feeling a little ‘wobbly’ in themselves or have ‘things on their mind’ 24/7.
It seems a good, practical and common sense idea to TEACH our kids a range of skills of to promote mental well-being, emotional intelligence, compassion for others, alongside their regular subjects. This is the essence of the "Paws b" and ".b (dot be)" mindfulness training curricula for children in primary and secondary schools respectively (MiSP). Once these skills are developed, they can be accessed when needed.
There is no word or concept TOO BIG that we can’t and don’t explore with the kids during the mindfulness lessons in school and in a FUN, PLAYFUL, CREATIVE, EDUCATIONAL, GENTLE and PROFESSIONAL way . Like any piece of equipment, the more we know about how it operates the better we can chose to operate it, right? So, why should the mind, brain and body be any different ? More so, when not concerned with worries, stress and anxiety, our kids really connect and appreciate fun and enriching experiences in life.
The children’s mindfulness-based curricula have been extensively researched and are based on the latest scientific and clinical knowledge. Formal evaluations* show mindfulness training for children will:
* Report on the impact of mindfulness by Professor Katherine Weare Universities of Exeter and Southampton
Sandra is a qualified and accredited teacher of a TWO FUN, VISUALLY DYNAMIC, EXERCISE-PACKED, INSPIRING & ENERGISING mindfulness in schools curricula. There's no room for boredom, but plenty of space for calm, focus, fun and skill. Check me out on the MISP-Map of accredited teachers.
Paws b - for our 7-11 olds
.b (dot be) for our 11-18 year olds