How often are children and adults told that resilience is a good thing but they are rarely taught how to actually be more resilient! Mindfulness training helps to explore and understand the mind and develop skills to proactively manage responses and behaviours, as well as improving focus and the ability to pay attention.
Mindful Teaching, part of the not-for profit Oakdale Centre CIC, have been working in a variety of educational settings across Yorkshire to bring evidence based mindfulness training to children and young people and/or staff.
We were recently involved in teaching mindfulness to Yr 7 pupils in large school in north Leeds. The school had identified that transition was a key point in the life of the school and wanted to make mindfulness part of their transition programme. The response and engagement from the pupils was excellent. They found it useful in areas such as concentration, exam stress, sleep, managing emotions and also in sport, music and drama.
“it helped me with my feelings and sleep and worries massively”
“in exams; it helps me concentrate and not stress”
“I used it when I was about to play a piece on the piano in front of a crowd and was feeling nervous”
“very inspiring and helps me get through tough times”
“my younger brother took something from my room and instead of getting angry I did a quick mindfulness practice and he gave it back because I didn’t react”
We also ran introductory sessions for interested staff and specific sessions for the teachers involved closely with Yr7. This meant that key staff understood the aims of the programme. We are now training staff in mindfulness with a view to supporting their own wellbeing (1.5 hours per week for 8 weeks, run as a twilight session). Mindfulness is typically taught over a number of sessions so that skills can be practiced and embedded as the course unfolds. Staff who have taken part in a mindfulness courses in schols report benefits such as a reduction in anxiety, help with burn out, less days off work and an increase in coping skills, motivation, self-confidence and ability to take perspective. ( This article summarises this nicely https://mindfulnessinschools.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Evidence-for-Mindfulness-Impact-on-school-staff.pdf). From our work with staff in other schools, they also report being kinder to themselves, managing their minds and emotions more skilfully and engaging/communicating better with colleagues.
Quotes from staff in Bradford and Hull “I am able to respond rather than react to stressful situations. That has made a huge difference at work & home”.
“I am in a pastoral role in the school and it challenging every day. My reactions are massively different now at work and it has had positive effect on my relationships at work as well as my overall work.”
“This training has helped me become self- aware which has definitely enhanced my relationship with the children in the classroom”
Some of the staff in the Leeds school we are currently working in will go on to train to teach mindfulness within the school and we will support the school develop their own staff based resource. Mindfulness can lose momentum in a school if there is not sufficient opportunities to engage with it. We are helping them find ways (many of which are free or very inexpensive to implement) to keep up the momentum of mindfulness in the school.
Bringing mindfulness into a school is not a ‘quick fix’ but done in the right way it is overwhelmingly successful. So how to move forward with mindfulness in your school?
Ask for an introductory meeting with Mindful Teaching and learn more about what we can provide. We will help you identify a cost effective way to implement mindfulness according to your present needs and aspirations to well being.
Contact us firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how we can help you.