Maybe, as an adult, you’ve heard of how valuable a daily mindfulness practice can be. It seems as though new mindfulness apps and websites are emerging at a rapid rate, for both adults to use in their own practice, as well as for children to practice self-regulation and deep breathing (More examples can be found here and here).
But students don’t need a fancy app or an expensive subscription service to make the most of their daily mindfulness practice. All it takes are a few minutes, a set of agreed-upon crew norms, and some deep breaths.
In the 3rd grade crew, our mindfulness practice occurs right after lunch. This is a great time for us to slow down and breathe, or just focus quietly on a spot in the room. Some of us enjoy drawing during mindfulness. Others like to close their eyes and meditate. One day, a group of students formed a meditation circle with a lava lamp as a centerpiece. Their energy was calm and still, yet palpable. You could tell that they were getting prepared to take on the rest of the day, which is filled to the brim with academic and social activities.
The built-in structure of mindfulness into each day allows us to take a few moments to reflect and think, set an intention for the rest of the day, or just enjoy a quiet activity like reading or writing.
In addition, sometimes we incorporate a mindfulness exercise into our day when the class as a whole could benefit from a brain break or “reset.” In these times, we gather into a circle and do a guided breathing activity, such as Bee Breathing, shown below. We imagined that a swarm of bees had invaded the classroom and we needed to take deep breaths, make the “zzzzz” sound with our mouths, and push the breath out through the buzzing sound. After we finished, the whole room was calmer, more focused, and ready for our next class activity.
Having mindfulness as a school-wide initiative at DAA is a wonderful way to ensure that all members of both our student and adult crew are getting a few minutes throughout the day to calm our minds and reset our intentions!