Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to what is happening moment to moment in our lives. The practice teaches that, rather than react to life events, one can respond from a more thoughtful place. According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program, “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”
Mindfulness and Movement takes a multi-tiered approach, addressing social and emotional learning.
Mindfulness-based strategies support skills associated with social and emotional learning for children, as well as those that have to do with executive brain function. Mindfulness helps children by teaching them how to manage their emotions, decrease stress and anxiety, and provide a means to protect themselves from harsh self-criticism and redirect their energy in a positive direction. In addition, mindfulness can help facilitate focus and attention, and it can have a direct effect in the classroom, creating a calmer environment and a better place for learning.
Mindfulness and Movement is a unique classroom-based program using various modalities to help children develop a sense of intrinsic self-worth. The program incorporates elements of highly respected programs including Learning to Breathe: A Mindfulness Curriculum for Adolescents to Cultivate Emotion Regulation, Attention, and Performance, and MindUP™: Brain-Focused Strategies for Learning-and Living.
Overarching program goals include
- promotion of greater self-understanding and an intrinsic sense of self-worth;
- tools for recognition of the presence of stress and anxiety;
- strategies to support stress and anxiety reduction;
- methods to increase focus and self-control, and promote self-worth;
- social skills development, motor planning skills, and community building.
Each session is dedicated to a particular topic. Examples include the brain and stress, the body and its senses, thoughts and mindfulness, emotions, gratitude, perspective taking, attention, and habits. Sessions are both didactic and experiential, and a variety of games and activities are utilized to understand and assimilate the class topics.