Both adults and children can benefit from mindfulness training, especially in the sometimes-challenging public school environment. Mindfulness is simply the practice of training our brain to be aware of our feelings, our bodies, and our environment in the present moment. Although it is an ancient and sometimes-spiritual practice, it is increasingly being used in everyday settings such as corporate businesses and fitness centers and... schools!
Mindfulness can help both teachers and students to reduce stress and anxiety, strengthen attention and focus, support social and emotional growth, and better resolve the inevitable conflicts that arise. According to Dr. Kirk Strosahl and Dr. Patricia Robinson, "research indicates that brain training involving mindfulness practices can strengthen areas of the brain responsible for attention, emotional control, and problem solving… There is even emerging evidence that mindfulness-based brain training produces permanent structural changes in the brain.”
I am thrilled that the students and staff at my child's after school program will be participating in a mindfulness training this year, and I hope it will just be the beginning of bringing a more mindful approach to education for all of our kids.
Here are a few articles I found for those who are interested in learning more:
Great information and links to resources for educators: http://www.mindfulteachers.org/p/benefits-of-mindfulness.html
In-depth article on When Mindfulness Meets the Classroom: http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/08/mindfulness-education-schools-meditation/402469/
Why Children Need Mindfulness as Much as Adults Do: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/22/why-children-need-mindful_n_5354143.html