By Wendy Verdaasdonk
New Year, New Habits: Mindfulness in The Classroom
Children and Mindfulness
The topic might sound heavy to discuss in the classroom, but mindfulness is something that can be easily done through small tasks. A quick 2-minute breathing exercise or 10 minutes of physical activity can make a profound difference in a busy day-to-day environment. Evidence has shown that mindfulness can help special needs children in particular but these benefits are applicable for all children. This year, we will be working on integrating mindfulness into the Mangahigh platform, which is a project we’re very excited to tell you more about in the coming months. In the meantime, we asked our content designers for some tips that you can start using right now in your (digital or physical) classroom.
Sometimes, all we need to feel more calm and happy is being reminded of all the good things that are happening around us, that sometimes we might be taking for granted. A great way to remind ourselves of this is by getting students to consciously take a moment each day to write something down (or for younger children, draw something) that they are grateful for or happy about. This can be anything from winning a board game or a nice gesture from a friend. At the end of the week, you can ask if anyone wants to share something they have written down, or alternatively, emphasize that this is just for them to reflect on, whichever you feel would work best for your class.
By something as simple as counting your breaths, you can take a moment in the day to wind down in just a couple of minutes. This breathing exercise by MyLife visualises breathing and guides you and your students to relax. This 3-minute exercise is a great resource for when you notice your students may be overwhelmed or getting restless.
Sitting still isn’t easy for anyone, and we all feel like we lose concentration if we have to sit still for too long. Another mini-break you can start implementing is to do a couple of simple movements to get the blood flowing and step away from the class that’s ahead. This way, your students (and yourself!) can start fresh on the rest of your lesson. Find some movements here that you can do in the classroom with your students.
To add mindfulness throughout your lesson and day, you can display mindful reminders in your (virtual) classroom. These reminders can be hung in your classroom for everyone to see, or shared at different times of the day in your virtual classroom. Affirmation messages such as ‘Challenges only make me grow’ or visual reminders to stand still and breathe for a few seconds, can bring mindfulness to the students when they need it. Find some more powerful affirmations by 7 Mindsets here.
We hope you found it helpful!
We’d love to hear more about what you think about mindfulness in the classroom, and what practices you already follow. Please let us know below so we can share it with our community!