Teaching mindfulness to young people to help them manage difficulty and flourish
Mindfulness is knowing what is going on inside and outside ourselves moment by moment. It is believed to have positive impact on mental wellbeing and uses breathing and mediation techniques to make us more aware of our surroundings and our thoughts and feelings. This can help us notice signs of stress and anxiety earlier and help us deal with them better.
A number of schools are now offering Mindfulness training in a variety of forms and bringing guided mediation sessions into the classroom.
Mindfulness in Schools Project is a UK charity which developed curricular resources for teaching mindfulness in school and offer training and resources to school staff to deliver the course.
There are a huge amount of resources available online to support mindfulness training including audio meditation guides and breathing exercises.
A collection of resources is available here and are free to download:
There are also many books available, Paul Penny a teacher from Basingstoke who has delivered mindfulness sessions in secondary schools recommends the following:
Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world- Dr Mark Williams & Dr Danny Penman.
The Little Book of Mindfulness- 10 minutes a day to less stress and more peace- Patrizia Collard
A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled- Ruby Wax
Mindfulness for Creativity: Adapt, create and thrive a frantic world- Dr Danny Penman
How this resource relates to Shaping Characters objectives
- Attitudes and attributes
- Education techniques
- Motivation and resilience
Tonbridge school in the UK report that whilst for some lessons in mindfulness are appreciated simply as an exercise to help relax and calm, for many the benefits extend well beyond this, helping pupils cope with exam stress, get to sleep, manage anger, deal with difficult relationships, improve their performance in sports and simply handle the increasingly stressful pace and pressure of adolescence.
If using a recognised provider there will be a cost to access resources and train staff.
Many online resources are available free – SEE LINK ABOVE.
How was it funded?
Funding arranged by individual schools, either by utilising standard funding or bidding to external grants.
Wholesale approach requires time and effort from the school to form the strategy and overall approach. Teacher time would relate to training – four day courses are relatively standard.
Once trained and embedded into the school preparation time is not significant.
How was or could the project be sustained?
Very much requires a whole school approach and commitment
"It is a skill which I can use throughout my life. I enjoyed feeling good after doing it. I enjoyed feeling calmer once I had finished, and more content as well. It enabled me to be able to focus on the present moment, without worrying about exams, results, homework etc."
Student at Tonbridge School in the UK