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Mindfulness In Schools

mindfulness in schools

The Positive Impacts Of Mindfulness In Schools

The benefits of mindfulness have never been celebrated more than in recent years, with more people embracing practices such as regular meditation, colouring in, and taking walks through nature. While adults might be loving the positive effects mindfulness has on their health and wellbeing, we can’t forget to teach our younger ones exercises and techniques they can use throughout their lifetimes. At YOGAMIGOS, we run programs to bring mindfulness to schools so kids of all ages have the opportunity to learn a range of techniques that they can use every single day.

Do Kids Need Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of being aware in the moment. Mindfulness exercises help us centre ourselves in a moment to view a situation in a level-headed, rational way. We’ve heard so many adults say they wish they’d had a chance to learn mindfulness exercises and techniques when they were younger, as the techniques can help manage the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress throughout a person’s life. So, why should we be teaching mindfulness to kids?

  • Improve their self-control. Mindfulness helps reduce impulsive behaviour and improve planning skills, which means they’ll be more likely to make better decisions.
  • Teach emotional regulation. Without emotional regulation, children tend to react to upsetting situations with emotions such as anger, frustration, or sadness. Teaching mindfulness encourages children to recognise their feelings, calm themselves down, and respond to the situation in a controlled, reflective manner.
  • Improve self-confidence. Mindfulness practices encourage plenty of self-acceptance and self-compassion, which raises self-esteem and supports a positive self-image.
  • Enhanced social and emotional skills. Mindfulness exercises are a brilliant way of teaching compassion and empathy in a safe, judgement-free environment. Students learn how to see things from others’ perspectives and think before speaking negatively towards others.
  • Encourages a boost in positive moods. Often, children are discouraged from expressing intense feelings, but mindfulness teaches them to do the opposite. They’re empowered to identify and acknowledge their emotions and experiences in the moment without critical thought or judgement so they can then work through them. Over time, this ability to feel and be present in the moment helps children bounce back from negative moods more quickly.

Why Is Mindfulness In Schools So Important?

School can be a stressful environment for a child, so it’s important to teach them ways of coping with that stress productively.

  • Handle nerves and anxiety. Picture this; it’s the night before an English essay is due, and the student is struggling. They’ve hit a wall in their writing, and the negative talk has started to creep in. ‘You’re probably going to fail this… Did you even understand the book?... I’ll bet the girl who sits next to you is going to do really well…’ We’ve all been there at one point or another, but mindfulness teaches students how to manage those thoughts when they arise. They can practice some quick mindfulness exercises they learned in their YOGAMIGOS class and come back to their essay feeling confident and ready to try again.
  • Improves focus and concentration. Performing mindfulness exercises before class has been proven to improve behaviour and focus. Students learn to be present in the moment and better engage with the class content.
  • Prevents bullying. Because mindfulness in schools teaches compassion, empathy, resilience, and impulse-control, schools that implement mindfulness for kids have shown a decrease in reports of bullying.

Mindfulness Exercises For Kids Of All Ages

YOGAMIGOS can teach mindfulness in kindergarten and Early Education Centres through to senior high school, and we introduce a range of age-appropriate mindfulness exercises and techniques.

  • 2-5 year olds: Listening walks are a fantastic mindfulness exercise for younger children. Take them to a park or outdoor area and ask them what they think they’ll hear. Then, walk around the area occasionally asking the children to close their eyes and listen to all the sounds. After a minute or two, ask them what sounds they heard and why they think they heard them.
  • 6-8 year olds: If you’re looking to boost positive moods and feelings of confidence, mindful posing is a great way to do so. While having the children repeat phrases such as ‘I am strong’, ‘I am brave’, and ‘I can do anything’, get them to alternate between the following poses;
  • The Superman: Stand with the feet just wider than the hips. Clench the fists and reach the arms into the sky, stretching as tall as possible.
  • The Wonder Woman: Stand tall with legs wider than hip-width, with hands or fists placed on the hips.
  • 9-12 year olds: Mindful journaling encourages students to be present in the moment and encourages older primary school students to practice their writing and self-expression skills. Ask students to write short journal entries using prompts like ‘What is one unique quality that makes you special’, ‘What is your greatest talent?’, and ‘Write about a person you admire. What are some things you both have in common?’.
  • 13-15 year olds: 10 minutes of colouring can make all the difference for young adolescents. Let the students choose their own pictures to colour and provide a range of materials so they can clear their minds and focus on the task at hand.
  • 16-18 year olds: Older students may benefit from guided meditations to practise breathing techniques and focus on clearing their minds of mental clutter for a while. Your YOGAMIGOS will have a bunch of resources to use during the mindfulness session, so ask them for recommendations!

How To Organise Mindfulness For Kids With YOGAMIGOS

Whether you’re interested in having a mobile YOGAMIGOS teacher come out to your school or you’d like to set up a mindfulness school holiday program, planning your sessions is easy.

  • Fit a mindfulness session into your class timetable. Practising mindfulness is so valuable. The sessions only run for 30-60 minutes, so the YOGAMIGOS team suggests setting time aside at least once a week for students to get the most out of their sessions. If you can only find time for a one-off session, your students will still learn skills they can continue to use long after the lesson is over.
  • Contact YOGAMIGOS. Once you’ve figured out times that suit your students, contact us, and we’ll provide an experienced, professional mindfulness teacher to run the class. Alternatively, if you’re in a remote location or if covid restrictions are in play, we can run the class as an online Zoom session.
  • Set aside a space for the class. You’ll need to provide each student with around 2sqm of space so they can feel comfortable. We can run the session in a classroom, in an auditorium or hall, or outdoors on the oval.

If You’re Looking For School Mindfulness Programs, YOGAMIGOS Would Love To Work With You!

At YOGAMIGOS, we believe that yoga, mindfulness, and pilates should be accessible for all Australians. That’s why we began our mobile yoga, pilates, and mindfulness business in 2012. Now, we’re proud to have a team of 50 mobile instructors across the country. We have plenty of experience offering yoga, pilates, and mindfulness sessions to clients of all ages, from the little ones right through to our senior citizens. Because YOGAMIGOS have mobile instructors, we can bring our classes to you. We can also provide our classes online. Whether you’re looking for lessons for little preppies, primary school students, or high school students, your wonderful YOGAMIGOS instructor is ready to share their love of yoga, pilates, and mindfulness to help you get more out of your day. If you’re interested in our school mindfulness programs, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today!