In the past few months I have taught mindfulness to Ms Kiely’s 3rd class and Ms Kavanagh’s 6th class. With Ms Kiely’s class I taught a programme called Paws b (Pause and breathe) which is a mindfulness curriculum for 7-11 year olds. It is designed among other things to develop concentration, a sense of well-being and emotional self-regulation. The material is presented in a child friendly way with lots of colourful images and video clips.
With 6th class I taught .b (Stop and breathe) which teaches mindfulness to older children. It also uses lots of catchy materials and short mindfulness practices for the children to try out both at home and at school. Both the Paws B and the .b programmes fit in very neatly into the objectives of the SPHE curriculum.
So what exactly is Mindfulness? One way of thinking of it is to say that it is paying attention, on purpose to our moment-to-moment experience without judging it. It is about gradually noticing what is really going on in our minds and developing a friendly relationship to it. More specifically, the .b and Paws b programmes aim to develop mindfulness as a life-skill for students.
Students use it:
To feel happier, calmer and more fulfilled
To get on better with others
To help them concentrate and learn better
To help cope with stress and anxiety
To perform better in music and sports
Both the .b and Paws b programmes have been developed in the UK by experienced classroom teachers and mindfulness practitioners and evaluated positively by the universities of Cambridge and Oxford Brookes. To find out more, have a look at the Mindfulness in Schools Project website: www.mindfulnessinschools.org
While working in Scoil an Linbh Iosa it was encouraging to see how well the children in both classes responded. They fully engaged not only with the new ideas presented but also with the short meditations. It was wonderful for both Ms Kiely and Ms Kavanagh and myself to see the stillness and calm developing in the children over the 10 weeks of the programme. Hopefully, what they have learnt will have sown seeds of calm and well-being that they can draw on in the coming years.