Mindfulness in the Classroom – An IB PYP ATL Skill

 

What is mindfulness exactly? And why would we need mindfulness in the classroom? According to Wikipedia, mindfulness is:

  • a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
  • the quality of being aware or conscious of something

When I consider those definitions in relation to mindfulness in the IB PYP classroom, the key words that jump out to me are:

being aware, focusing, present, accepting, feelings, thoughts, therapeutic. 

Connecting with the Learner Profile

All very similar to being reflective, don't you think? Since we have a whole child approach to teaching, this makes perfect sense that we would help to develop awareness of self as an approach to learning. If we think about how many attributes within the the Learner Profile align with mindfulness, we can then see how, through taking time to explicitly teach mindfulness strategies with the children, that we are in fact developing the whole child.

[caption id="attachment_2675" align="aligncenter" width="525"] Consider how mindfulness connects with the Learner Profile.[/caption]

Consider the question in the image above for a few minutes. What comes to mind from your experience with your students?

I know that with my upper grades, we have struggled with a multitude of feelings and emotions that could have benefitted from an approach of developing mindfulness. For example:
  • Low concentration
  • Lack of tolerance
  • Fear of failure
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Trouble managing emotions
  • Low self confidence
  • Little sense of responsibility for learning
I'm certain that you can identify with some and perhaps even add others. There is no doubt, that by embedding these skills into your routines and your units of inquiry, we can help the children to manage these feelings and behaviours. In a previous article, Developing Mindfulness in the IB PYP Classroom, I introduced a couple of teachers who offer amazing ideas and resources for bringing mindfulness into your classroom.  I have since had the chance to chat further with Karen, a certified mindfulness coach and an experienced IB PYP teacher in Sweden. The video below, shares some simple and effective strategies that can be used at ANY age level. They bring this self management sub-skill easily into your daily routines and have proven to be popular with the kids too. In this video, you will hear how Karen brings mindfulness to her students in such a natural way that the practice becomes an authentic part of their daily routine. She mentions the mindfulness triangle and how we have this connection between our mind and body and, ultimately our thoughts. Knowing that anything new can be uncomfortable at first for many, Karen also offers coaching for teachers through her workshops and her step-by-step online programmes. Yes, there are options! You can learn more about Karen's resources through her website, the mindfulteacher.co and on her Instagram account @themindfulteacher.co

Easy to Implement Strategies for Developing Mindfulness

Meanwhile, here is the video. It is our hope that you are able to use some of these strategies and tools, and can begin right away, to bring the self management sub skill of greater mindfulness to your students. 
 
Enjoy!
 
Susan P.S. If you are looking for more ideas and inspiration, I highly recommend our global Instagram community. Please do join me and our global colleagues as we share, encourage and engage with our common passion of student-led inquiry! Find me @pypteaching
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