Mindfulness means paying attention in a certain way, in particular, having a calm awareness of your own feelings, actions and functions. In a school setting, mindfulness practices create and support deep relationships with teachers, peers and the environment. MCS has been fortunate to have current and past teachers on staff who practice mindfulness and who have brought this philosophy into their classrooms. As a result, many mindfulness practices have been incorporated into daily routines, practices, and approaches within the school. These include:
- Mindful eating: Each day during lunch, the children are invited to bring their full attention to the process of eating; to all the tastes, smells, thoughts and feelings that arise during a meal. Several minutes of quiet eating are often followed by children sharing their thoughts about all the growth, work and love that goes into making their lunchtime meals.
- Mindfulness bell: Teachers ring the mindfulness bell to signal transitions, make a group announcement, or to bring attention and appreciation to children they are exploring with at a given moment. The ringing of the bell is an invitation to pause, take a deep breath, and bring full attention to the bell and the teacher.
- The space place: The space place is a designated spot in the classroom in which a child can find space to be alone. Children self-select when to visit the space place and when to leave, often seeking it when they are not yet ready to deal with a conflict, not ready to take care of the classroom, or just feeling sad. Upon leaving, children are expected to address and resolve the reason they sought out this space (e.g. resolve the conflict, help take care of the classroom before joining circle, etc.).
- Daily “thankfuls”: A closing circle at the end of each day culminates in a special moment where children take turns reflecting on his or her day, and articulating a “thankful” or favorite part of that day. Each child is given the option to share a favorite moment or pass. Thankfuls also help children reflect, or sometimes remember, the events of a busy day.
When used in the classroom, mindfulness can become a foundation for learning and for improving a child’s ability to become a self-learner. At MCS, we aspire to incorporate mindfulness practices as we teach children to know what is happening in the present and to fully engage their hearts and minds with themselves and with those around them.
Additional Mindfulness Resources: