This year we have been introducing optional mindfulness sessions with an aim to promote children’s emotional well-being and increase their self-awareness. In basic terms, mindfulness is being present, in the moment, by focusing attention on the here and now. This can be achieved by bringing awareness to a sensation, such as sound, touch or the sensation of breathing. Focusing attention in this way can be very calming and hugely beneficial to physical and emotional well-being. With the occasional pressures of school life, we wish to support and encourage children to find these moments of calm and to develop tools that will positively impact their social and emotional intelligence.
A mindfulness lunch time club has been running since September, available to one year group each half term. So far we have had a pleasing turn out from years 2, 3 and 4. The club is continuing at present with year 6 children in the run up to SATs and will be available to year 5 children as the year progresses. The 25 minute sessions involve breathing exercises, mindful movement, colouring and games that encourage children to focus their attention, a key aspect of mindfulness.
In addition, some year 6 children have volunteered to take on the role of mindfulness mentors, where they have led one-minute breathing exercises with younger children to help calm and re-focus them for their afternoon learning. These year 6 children have been extremely positive role models for some of our younger pupils and we are extending this program to other children who are taking an interest.
Some feedback from our pupils on how mindfulness helps them:
‘If my work is hard it keeps me calm’
‘It helps me focus more on my writing’
‘When I’m angry it calms me down’
‘It helps me to concentrate on my lessons’
Here are two articles written by Debbie Pritchard who is the Manager of the Specialist Teaching Team in West Essex.