WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?
Mindfulness is all about learning to direct our attention to our experience as it unfolds, moment by moment, with open-minded curiosity and acceptance. Rather than worrying about what has happened, or might happen, it trains us to respond skilfully to whatever is happening right now, in the present moment.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS?
It gives the children ‘mindfulness’ as a life-skill. The children use it to –
- to feel happier, calmer and more fulfilled
- to communicate more effectively with others
- to help them concentrate, focus and make good decisions
- to help cope with stress and anxiety
- to support performance such as music and sport
HOW DO WE PRACTISE MINDFULNESS AT WOODBRIDGE SCHOOL PREP?
- The Paws b curriculum created by the Mindfulness in Schools Project is taught to Year 3. It has been carefully crafted by classroom teachers and mindfulness experts to engage young children. It is taught with striking visuals, film clips and activities that bring mindfulness to life without losing the expertise and integrity of classic mindfulness teaching.
- In Years 4, 5 and 6, we revisit the curriculum to consolidate the learning.
- We practice as a whole school every Monday morning in assembly.
- Teachers refer to mindfulness practice in the classroom and around the school.
- Pupils know how to access this skill when necessary. They use their own mindfulness practice in school and at home. They share their experience of good practice.
MINDFULNESS IN THE NEWS
Josephine Lister, writer for HundrED states that ‘by targeting emotional and cognitive capabilities at a young age, you instil a way of behaving and being that can carry on throughout adult life. Schools have a particular responsibility to include mindfulness in their weekly classes, as school is one of the first points of stress in a child’s life.’
A study by Place2Be (a leading children’s mental health charity) found that ‘56 per cent of British children worry about something all the time.’ Another study found that ‘one in eight children between the ages of five and 19 have at least one mental illness, with depression and anxiety being the most common.’ Research published in the health journal Mindfulness, found ‘eight weeks of weekly mindfulness lessons improved children’s grades, and reduced aggression, stress and social anxiety.’
Launching the Government’s initiative to teach mindfulness in up to 370 schools throughout England over two years, Damian Hinds, former Education Secretary, said in February 2019: ‘As a society, we are much more open about our mental health than ever before, but the modern world has brought new pressures for children, while potentially making others worse.’
An article written in ‘The Telegraph’ by Maria Lally reads ‘Imrain Hussain, director of policy and campaigns for the British charity Action for Children, says: “Services like these can lessen the anxiety, pain, and anguish that some teens go through, but also reduce their need for intensive support further down the line.” The services he is referring to here include mindfulness.‘