Students who engage in mindfulness activities feel more self-possessed and connected to their classroom community. With this healthy outlet for intense emotions and excess energy, they are better able to focus and engage in productive learning. Practicing mindfulness allows students to develop the basic foundation for a healthy mind, body, and spirit as they establish lifelong healthy habits.
In addition to the following suggestions, children can be made aware of mindfulness by reading or having you read Kelly Caleb’s Now Cow books and other mindfulness stories written to their age level.
Ways to Practice Mindfulness in the Classroom
Start with one simple practice. Whether it’s a breathing routine, a yoga sequence, or a guided meditation, make the activities you choose fun and light-hearted for your students.
Use chimes, a singing bowl, or a small gong. These can begin and end the mindfulness practice. Students love to be the guides who begin and end the practice with the chosen signal.
Make up your own yoga pose. Once your students know some of the basic yoga poses, have them make up their own poses and give them a name. They’ll love doing “Batman pose” or “Hello Kitty” pose all the more because they made it up themselves.
Introduce meditation on the first day of school. Get your students intrigued and excited about mindfulness in the classroom by trying meditation on the first day and making it fun and simple. During the first few days, make the goal to be still and quiet for one to two minutes with their eyes either open or closed. Talk about how they felt. Students love the challenge of building their stamina for sitting quietly.
Guided meditations are exciting. Students love guided meditation books or recordings. Going on an imaginary journey helps them stay still for longer periods of time as they imagine a beautiful, fantastical place while getting suggestions to bring them to a calm state. Once they are experienced at doing guided meditation, encourage students who are interested to write their own guided meditations to read to other students.
Body scans can help active kids calm down. If your students are having a hard time calming down for mindfulness in the classroom, doing a body scan gives them something more to do while practicing mindfulness. Have them squeeze each muscle, starting from the toes up, and then let it relax. Go one by one through every muscle, and they should be much calmer and more relaxed by the end.
Creativity is Key With Mindfulness in the Classroom
Whether it’s creating their own yoga poses or imagining new muscle groups to scan, students relate to mindfulness practices when they can be involved in the process and make it their own. They enjoy using their creative energy to make mindfulness special to themselves and their classroom community.
Whenever possible, let them participate in designing mindfulness practices once they have a good understanding of the goal and process of practicing mindfulness. This way, you can make bringing mindfulness to your classroom a special treat that the kids look forward to every day, just like Now Cow looks forward to practicing mindfulness every day.
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