Students nowadays are becoming increasingly more stressed and anxious.  Teaching mindfulness in the classroom can help students learn to cope with emotional and mental stresses.  Students who are mindful demonstrate the ability to control their attention, remain calm, and manage stress.  Student mindfulness has been shown to have profound benefits for students.  Mindfulness allows students to learn by clearing their minds of the things out of their control.

There are several ways teachers can incorporate student mindfulness practices in the classroom.

Breathing
Breathing exercises help to calm body and mind.  Try some guided deep breathing with students to help them relax and release their worries.

Music
Help students relax by listening to soothing music or other calming sounds, like ocean waves, nature sounds, or white noise.

Imagery
In guided imagery, words and music can help students use their imaginations to create imaginary scenarios that may promote relaxation and reduce blood pressure and stress.

Meditation
Daily meditation in schools has been linked to a reduction in suspensions and truancy and an increase in academic proficiency.  It also helps relax students and promotes a sense of well-being.

Sensory
Tactile items, like Silly Putty, stress balls, and Play-doh can help encourage young imaginations.  Make “I Spy” jars by filling them with items that have strong, familiar smells (cinnamon, flowers, cereals, or popcorn) and have students guess the scent.  Use tables covered with water, sand, or rice to focus on sense of touch.

Movement
Students are movers.  Incorporate movement into your daily routine as part of your mindfulness practice.  Yoga is a preferred practice for mindfulness through movement.  It is calming, gentle, and flowing.

Resources

MindYeti.com – A mindfulness app for kids

GoNoodle.com – a brain break app that offers mindfulness videos

“Just Breathe” Original Film – a short film by Julie Bayer Salzman & Josh Salzman (Mindful Schools) in which young children describe their experiences with mindfulness

Guided Meditation, Relaxation and Imagery for Children videos from New Horizon channel on YouTube

Guided calming exercises from Stop, Breathe & Think on YouTube.

Relaxing Music by Yellow Brick Cinema channel on YouTube

Yoga for kids by Cosmic Kids Yoga channel on YouTube (for primary and upper elementary).

Yoga videos for a variety of needs, levels, and situations from Yoga With Adriene on YouTube.

Reading Materials
Mindfulness for Teachers: Simple Skills for Peace and Productivity in the Classroom
by Patricia Jennings

The Mindful Child
by Susan Kaiser Greenland

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind
by Daniel J. Siegel

Visiting Feelings
by Lauren Rubenstein

Have You Filled a Bucket Today?
by Carol McCloud

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