Mindfulness is a particular way of paying attention, on purpose, to our internal and external experiences and sensations, moment by moment and without judgment. By looking with curiosity and an open mind at what is going on both inside and outside ourselves, we are able to more fully understand how we relate to ourselves and others. Mindfulness uses our breath and multiples senses to keep us present in our lives. This attention and awareness to what is taking place moment by moment can lower stress and anxiety, help increase concentration and the ability to focus and improve social and emotional behaviors toward ourselves and others. Mindfulness is a skill that supports healthy habits and a well-balanced lifestyle.
Mindfulness in Schools (PK-high school)
Teaching mindfulness at school allows children and adolescents to learn how to pay attention to what is going on in their lives as a whole. When young people have the skills to manage their emotional and physical experiences, they are empowered to make healthier choices for themselves. Because mindfulness strengthens our abilities to focus and concentrate on what we are doing moment-by-moment, distractions, daydreams, fears and anxieties tend to fade away much easier. As a result young people are able to pay attention more completely, learn easier and increase learning comprehension. Mindfulness practice also increases self-awareness and impulse control, which results in individuals being better prepared for their academic and social lives.
Benefits of Mindfulness Skills Training in Schools
Improved focus and concentration
- Increased readiness for learning
- Increased self-awareness and empathy
- Increased impulse control
- Increased emotional management and understanding
of how to treat oneself and others better
- Feelings of greater comfort and happiness with self
Mindfulness in Schools incorporates:
- Mindful breathing- paying attention to the breath
- Mindful listening- listening attentively to sounds in the environment
- Mindful eating- using all senses of the body to engage in eating
- Mindfulness of body- awareness of body and sensations inside and outside the body
- Mindful movement- being aware of the space around one’s environment and understanding how best to move within that space
- Heartfulness/Acts of Kindness- thinking of others and wishing good things for all people
After a sequence of time and practice, these mindfulness skills and habits will naturally become a part of the individuals and the community and rather than isolating a specific part of the day to practice mindfulness it will organically be a part of the school day and the community as a whole.
We are grateful to have spent the 2014-15 school year with Riverway Learning Community. All of the students and staff studied mindfulness all school year. Their Children’s House classroom was inspired to make a video to share mindfulness with others. This video is a wonderful result of their hard-work.
Manitou works with students, teachers and administrators and youth organizations in the area. If you are interested in learning more about how to bring mindfulness trainings to your school, youth or social service organization or work place please contact Trish Johnson or Paul Stern.
Manitou offers introductory mindfulness presentations, workshops, and 4-week courses to parent groups including PTA’s, ECFE, and other parent groups.
We also offers weekly and monthly mindfulness trainings to children, adults and families. These are an excellent way to spend time together having fun and to build a deeper understanding about yourself and your family.
Mindfulness practice involves paying attention to both our internal and external environments and teaches us how to give our attention to what is taking place, moment by moment, as it unfolds. Having these skills allows us to better manage a busy lifestyle and be prepared for challenges and difficulties as they arise. It also provides us with the chance to more fully engage in our life and connect more deeply with ourselves, and our family and friends.