Mindfulness means to maintain a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.
When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we're sensing in the present moment rather than being stuck in the past or imagining the future, allowing us to focus on what we are learning in the present moment or to connect with people in that moment.
Introducing mindfulness into teaching is said to assist in:
Reducing stress among students.
Bringing a new perspective to teachers as well as renewed commitment towards the students.
Improving the student-teacher relationship.
Improving the well-being of the student and the teacher.
Students developing emotionally and learning with the existence of quality teacher-student interactions.
Mindfulness also aids in the decrease in stress levels, not only for the student but for the teacher too. Practising meditation has obvious benefits to any individual and can make you feel less stressed, more focused, flexible, creative and organised.
So why not practice it in the classroom? All these proven benefits can benefit the students as much as it would to anyone else. And the best part is that these benefits can improve a student's learning experience and abilities.
Mindfulness attracts the interests of individuals who are seeking to live their life to the fullest and supporting others to do the same. Practising mindfulness activates and strengthens emotional intelligence, curiosity, concentration, compassion and cognitive flexibility. The value of mindfulness in education starts with the teacher practising mindfulness techniques, becoming familiar with the benefits and techniques to pass on to the students as a life skill to assist them in maintaining strong mental health.
Many schools are incorporating mindfulness as an integral part of their teaching day- to regain focus, settle students and when there is a need to settle the class. There are some great websites available now for teachers to explore and use with their students.
Top 5 websites for exploring mindfulness in the Classroom
COSMIC KIDS - A fun series about mindfulness for kids aged 5+. Jaime makes mindfulness relevant for kids, helping them develop awareness of their emotions and sharing techniques for self-regulation.
GONOODLE - Helps teachers and parents get kids moving with short interactive activities. Desk-side movement helps kids achieve more by keeping them engaged and motivated throughout the day. GoNoodle is designed with K-5 classrooms in mind.
HEADSPACE - Learn to meditate for a few minutes a day with the Headspace app. Headspace delivers guided meditations based on teachings that Andy Puddicombe, Co-founder of Headspace, learned during the ten years he spent studying meditation and mindfulness in monasteries across Asia.
THE CALM SCHOOLS INITIATIVE - Offering every teacher in the world with a K-12 classroom free access to Calm, the mindfulness app that provides teachers with mindfulness tools and resources they can use to help kids learn. Teachers will have access to the library of guided meditations and mindfulness exercises, including Calm Kids, programs tailored for age groups from pre-K through high school.
SMILING MIND - A modern meditation app equipping young people with the integral skills to thrive in life. Developed by a team of psychologists, Smiling Mind uses mindfulness to boost calmness, contentment and clarity.
If you would prefer to use apps, follow this link for some great suggestions from the author of Parenting Chaos.