Mindfulness Blog

Updated- 10/25/21

There were no formal mindfulness lessons this week as it was a PIR weekend.  But there was no lack of mindfulness from the MCS Community.

This week we moved the playground from the back area where it has always lived to the front yard.  This of course not only took lots of planning and working together, but expertise from our MCS community and manual labor at a level that exceeds any volunteer levels that we typically ask for.  
It was truly wonderful to see the community come together to make this playground move happen and make sure the children had somewhere on the property to roam.  We saw current staff and current parents.  We also saw former staff (in the form of director and staff) as well as a former teacher, and a former parent/board member show up to lend a hand.  We also saw a friend who just wanted to see what being a superhero of kindness really felt like.  
We could never have done this without everyone’s help. If you were on a tour I would have told you that mindfulness is about 
  • Self-awareness
  • Self-regulation
  • Conflict resolution skills
  • Empathy and compassion
  • Focus
These are all true.  But at the end of the day, it is about compassion and caring.  And you all shared that.  It filled many buckets.  
Thank you all so much for your help.  It takes a village, and we definitely have one!


Updated- 10/18/21

Hi families!

We had wonderful mindfulness lessons this week focussed on being kind.
We read “Have You Filled a Bucket Today”.  This book talks about how to be kind and show kindness throughout your day.  You can fill someone’s bucket by doing an assortment of things (saying thank you, hi, holding the door open).  You can also dip someone’s bucket by doing an assortment of things (saying something to hurt their feelings, pushing them or grabbing something from them).
Each class had great examples of real life situations where their bucket was filled or dipped.  It is really hard when someone tries to take a shovel out of your hand, or when you were running to a swing and someone got there first.  Most days at mindful eating we say how we appreciate who packed our lunch, but sometimes you aren’t a fan of what is in your lunch.  Lots of ways to feel frustrated.  
The secret is if you fill a bucket, you fill your own bucket as well.  If you dip a bucket, you dip your own as well.  You get to choose if you are a bucket filler or a bucket dipper.
We then talked about the playground move, and how so many people are helping make this happen.  With some paper, markers, and of course stickers…  we made thank you cards for people who are helping our new playground come to fruition. The children had great words to share.  Some were more general, “I like that you are moving the playground.”  Some were a little more forceful, “Thank you for moving the playground today.”  But the sentiment of thank you and filling a bucket was included in each and every card.  
One child said, “I’m really good at filling buckets! I do that every day!”  This was a true statement.
I know many families do thankfuls at dinner or before bed.  Asking your child to tell you one bucket they filled is a great way to add to your discussion, and bring this idea of making conscious choices to be kind, into your conversations.


Updated- 10/11/21


Hi families,

Today’s mindfulness lesson was so fun.  We talked about space place.
Each classroom has a space place.  This is where you get space if you need it.  Sometimes we need space if we are too excited, maybe upset, or just are upset that we wanted honey not jelly on our sandwich.  The space place is a great area to go to where we can all take a breath, collect ourselves, and come back.
We read a Quiet Place by Douglas Woods.  (Illustrated by Dan Andreasen).  This book talks about all of the places you can find space.  A pond.  A mountain top.  Even home.  But we can know we always have a space place we carry with us.  This is a deep breath that always stays inside of us.
Every classroom has a ‘tool box’ with tools at their space place.  They brought their tools in to share with my how they get space in their classroom.  It was fun to see what all the classrooms have, and to share some of our classroom’s favorite tools.  
Children then drew their home space place.  We talked about how this can be a space anywhere inside or outside of home where they can find space.  The pictures are so fantastic!  (The teachers kept them for portfolios.)  Most children chose their room, their bed, or under their bed.  I believe most of the Tree Room chose mom as their space place.  
I encourage you to find a space place in your house for your child.  Sometimes it is even a closet.  But a place where they can get space.  I also encourage you to tell children if you need space.  This is a great skill to learn, as well as learning how to take that breath.  

Updated- 10/4/21

What a peaceful and enjoyable mindfulness Friday.

This week we talked about Mindful Eating.
We started by reading a book, “If You Hold a Seed”, by Elly Mackay.  This book talks about how a young boy plants a seed and sets a wish.  He waits while the seed grows.  The sun comes, rain comes, and he waits patiently.  It grows.  Seasons change again and the leaves fall, so he waits through the winter.  But, surprise!  When spring and summer hit, the seed starts growing again, and grows bigger.  It goes through seasons and seasons until it is a tree big enough to hold him.  This is pretty exciting.
After the story we talked about our food.  Some food can be grown here, some cannot.  Some of us even have gardens!  My chives and cilantro did good this year.  My strawberries and snap peas need another year to start growing a little better.
We also spoke to how the raisins got here.  I noted I had concord grapes but those make better jelly.  I think different grapes turn into raisins.  It was surprising how many children knew a grape was the start of a raisin!  We also spoke to how these may not be able to grow here, and can definitely grow here in the winter.  This means someone has to drive it to Missoula.  One friend guessed they may have come from a ship over the ocean.  Mom’s and Dad’s, or Aunts, Uncles, friends, or in my house sometimes Grandpa, help bring food from the store to the house.  Or even make your food or pack it.  
Each child held a raisin and spoke to how it felt or smelt.  Sticky and sweet were two words used a lot.  Children then had a chance to mindfully eat the raisin (so we don’t eat it fast, and we think about what comes to mind.)  Fuzzy, sweet, and juicy were the three biggest words used.  
Children really like mindful eating.  It is always a great practice to bring home as well.  It can be with a bell and breath, and a designated time to think about a food.  Like today.  Or it can just become part of your daily conversation.
Thanks again, as always, for sharing your children with me,


Updated- 9/27/21

Hi families,

This week for mindfulness we worked on ocean breaths.  
We read a book called ‘Each Breath a Smile”.  This talked about taking time to take a breath.  We are lucky enough to have a bunch of turtles that were sewn and are very attractive.  We put them in the ‘belly of the ocean’.  (This is our belly button.) We took deep breaths, for calm oceans.  We took fast breaths, which is like ‘hurricane season’.  The children did great!  They really liked watching and feeling their turtles ride the waves.
Each group is different.  So for some, this is what we did.
For a couple of other groups, we were able to also do another body control activity.  We listened to 
“The Long Way Home’ by Nora Jones.  I started by doing some movements and they followed.  The children then chose a movement for us all to follow, that went with the song.  It was really fun to see what children chose, and particularly watching them to take some time to think of what they wanted demonstrate.  
As always, I enjoy the ability to work with your children on Fridays.  This was a great lesson.  Next week we will work a little on mindful eating.  


Updated- 9/20/21

A quick note from the office:

Wednesday, September 22 at 6pm, we will have a Mindfulness (Virtual) Open House! Join Kristal to learn more about how we integrate Mindfulness into the curriculum, daily activities, and how these skills benefit your kiddos!

Here’s the link for the meeting:

Hope to see you there!  -Kasey


Hi families,

This week felt like the perfect week to do some animal yoga.  We always start by taking a deep breath (or two) at the beginning of circle. Today, We read the story, “Zoo Zen”, written by Kristen Fischer and illustrated by Susi Schaefer.  In this story, a young girl learns yoga from animals at the zoo.
The first thing she does is lay out her mat.  We have little mats the children can use for activities like this.  Each child laid out their mat.  We talked about how the trick to this book is we need to be able to come back to these calm bodies after we do an animal pose.  
Children got to pose as a bear, snake, eagle, lion, camel, crocodile, dolphin, gorilla, lizard, frog, and flamingo.  Some of the poses are easy, some are a little trickier.  We read a page of the book and then did that animal’s pose.  Sometimes the animals did something funny after the pose, like the frogs bounced to a new lily pad and the snakes slithered.  But they always returned back to their restful pose.  
After finishing an animal we would sit back down and do an animal breath that we thought matched the animal.  The bear took a deep breath then did an inside roar on the breath out.  The snake took a deep breath in and hissed on the brought out.  The gorilla was a favorite as we gently pounded our chests on the breath out.  A great follow up is to ask your child what their favorite animal and/or breath was.  Another great follow up is to look up more animal poses or come up with some of your own.
Thanks for sharing your children with me!


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Updated- 9/15/21

Hi families,

What a wonderful first week of mindfulness!  I really do treasure the fact that I am able to still send time with all of the classrooms.
Today we read the book, “Take the Time”.  This book talks about taking the time to observe what is going on around you and taking time.  It can be playing with friends, when you are sad, when you wake up, or anytime.  
After reading the book, we took breaths with the breathing ball.  This is a fun tool that we have at school and some families choose to have at home.  You take a deep breath while you expand the ball.  You exhale as you shrink the ball back up.  This also needs to be done so slowly and carefully.  
Children had an opportunity to draw a picture of a time they take time to take a breath.  These will be part of your child’s portfolio.  But they each drew a picture and tried writing their name!  
For those who chose to give it a try, they could try their hand at ringing the bell.  You have to do it calmly and take a deep breath.  
I’m looking forward to working with your children this year!  
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