With the new addition to Ofsted showing greater emphasis on pupil’s mental health now is a perfect time to encourage a whole school approach striving for wellbeing to be an important aspect of school life.

This is where the Youth Mindfulness Kids Programme can really shine when being taught within schools, enriching the children’s schooling and preparing them for life, navigating it in the here and now and keeping the students mentally and physically healthy.

WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?

Mindfulness is the “awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment.”[1] Although mindfulness is a natural human capacity it is not our normal orientation to experience.[2] We are often lost in ruminative thinking about the past or the future – not truly present with what is happening in the here and now. By training our attention to dwell in the present moment we can gradually cultivate this capacity.

As a certified teacher of the Youth Mindfulness Kids Programme I am qualified to teach the 8-week introduction to mindfulness which is suitable for 7-11 year-olds. It consists of sixteen one-hour lessons delivered twice a week. Although the course is best to be taught in its entirety as it builds a stronger understanding of mindfulness and therefore benefits, it can also be taught to a certain point with focus on cultivating the key foundations of intention, attention and attitude.

The course introduces mindfulness in a way that is engaging, relevant, and enjoyable, making use of music, games, activities, experiments, videos, songs and group discussion to convey key concepts as well as teaching mindfulness practices such as mindfulness of breathing.

Please see this short video which gives an inspiring insight into the Youth Mindfulness Kids Programme.

 
 

As the course progresses, children then learn to cultivate gratitude, handle difficult thoughts and emotions, and finally develop kindness towards themselves and others.

The core objectives of the course are to enhance the general mental, emotional and social wellbeing of children by improving: 

·      attention

·      self-control

·      self-awareness

·      emotional regulation

·      gratitude

·      self-kindness

·      kindness to others

WHAT MAKES THIS PROGRAMME UNIQUE?

Mindfulness is often talked about, but these lessons bring practise into their learning with each one usually consisting of a sitting, moving and lying down practise.

Although the lessons can easily be taught in the classroom there is still space and time for movement. The children are of an age where they are biologically programmed to move and adventure and the mindful movement releases energy and can allow a greater experience when they come to being quiet and still with awareness.

Enquiry is used through discussions after mindfulness practises. This allows the children to chat about how they felt when practising and allows the teacher to ask with enthusiasm and curiosity. This develops communication that is based on openness and kindness.

The programme is fun through being interactive and engaging. For children to practise mindfulness they have to decide that this is something that they want to do and this opportunity is given through these lessons.

THE RESEARCH

A qualitative study conducted at the University of Edinburgh in 2014, exploring children’s experiences of the Youth Mindfulness Kids Programme found that:

92% of children reported an enhanced ability to regulate their emotions and tolerate strong affect.

72% of children reported that mindfulness helps them to focus, pay attention, and concentrate.

72% of children report an enhanced ability to be less reactive towards others, being less aggressive and engaging less frequently in physical and verbal confrontation.

77% of children report improvements in peer and family relationships.

Over 55% of children report that mindfulness helps them to enjoy life more, demonstrating enhanced gratitude, happiness, optimism and quality of life.

If you would like to discuss the Kids Programme further then please get in touch for us to tailor the course together.

[1]Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based interventions in context: Past, present, and future. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice10(2),144-156.

[2]Farb, N. A. S., Segal, Z. V., Mayberg, H., Bean, J., McKeon, D., Fatima, Z. and Anderson, A. K. (2007). Attending to the present: Mindfulness meditation reveals distinct neural modes of self-reference. Social Cognitive Affective Neuroscience, 2(4), 313-322.