I know as an experienced educator and parent that children learn best when they feel safe, comfortable and relaxed. They benefit from a positive connection with a calm adult be it parent or teacher and one who is present for them. A relaxed and calm teacher is like the weather in the room so the classroom can be a calm relaxed pace to learn and connect.
My students often have anxiety, nervousness or discomfort with an easily overwhelmed nervous systems due to sensory and other issues. They struggle attending, processing new information and self awareness. Self regulating their bodies and emotions difficult. So, teaching and practicing mindfulness strategies and techniques daily is key for them to learn, regulate and connect with others. Integrating the techniques and strategies through out the day important for learning academics but more importantly many life skills including self awareness, self regulation, and calm. Hopefully, with practice and support this will assist these children to grow up happy and have tools to assist them in life. I also believe all children and their parents would benefit.
So what is it?
The basic idea is that mindfulness is a way of paying attention and noticing without judgement but rather a curiosity and kindness towards ourselves. This slowly increases understanding towards others.
It is the noticing part I focus on and this takes time. Stoping to anchor onto our breath, a sound etc. and then sharing what we notice is an important aspect of mindfulness. If we notice that we got lost in a thought, sensation or feeling but were able to return our attention to the bell, breath etc strengthens our brain and increases self awareness. The children notice what they were thinking or feeling, did not caught up in it and were able to return to the anchor of their attention. Slowing down and just attending to what is going on with us at the moment. Checking in, noticing, pausing before reacting is a life skill we can all benefit from!
Brain Power or Plasticity
Our brain learns from repeated practice and rich experiences. Much like learning to play an instrument, a sport we improve with practice.
Focussing our attention for longer and longer periods on an object like a sound or our breathe is much like exercise for our brain and its' ability to sustain attention. There are also many other more subtle shifts in self awareness, ability to relax and focus etc. I see in myself and the children.
Here are the children explaining mindful listening and breathing from last year's class.
Welcome to my classroom!
I am passionate, a little bit quirky ( some may say a little bit more) and dedicated to serving children with Autism. These young people have touched me deeply and have made me a better teacher & hopefully person. I want to share what I have learned that allows these beautiful children to grow & sometimes thrive in my class.