What is the meditation in schools program about?
The meditation in schools program is a gentle, fun way for children to learn how to;
- Identify & manage emotions
- Learn about positive self-talk
- Find different ways to be calm & relaxed
- Build self- esteem
- Create confidence
This program is based on the “Chill Skills for Kids” program which has been running for over 6 years, and has been modified to use in a school setting.
What do the students do in a class?
- Movement, such as gentle stretching and yoga
- Visualisations to assist children to imagine their worries away
- Listen to a relaxing story; this assists their nervous system to wind down
- Activities such as drawing, which assists with self-expression
- We talk about how worry can store in the body, and how to use Chill Skills to release it
- The kids learn about emotions and how to identify them
- The kids learn about positive self-talk, e.g., how to create a positive thought such as “I feel calm” or “I feel awesome ”
How long do the sessions run for?
- The program is designed to be run on an ongoing basis
- Ideally, the sessions are held daily
- The program can be run on a more or less frequent basis
- The lesson plans are designed for 20 minute sessions
- The program can be adapted to run using a shorter or longer session time if required
Why do this program in shools?
Meditation & mindfulness is a natural solution to help children deal with stress & anxiety.
Results from a 6 week evaluation study of the program in 2016, shows the following;
Outcomes for students;
- Improvement in ability to focus in class
- Improvement in sharing & discussion in class
Teacher comments include;
- Children appear calmer
- The meditation helps to engage children in their learning
‘The meditation has really helped engage children in their learning more. They come back to class focused, ready to do work and excited to share their story. It’s interesting to see what feelings are evoked during our meditation sessions as it allows me to learn more about my students and how they learn. I believe meditation has helped strengthen the focus of many of my students and will continue to do so the more I use this in the classroom’
Ms. A.T. Victoria, Primary School Teacher, Grades,4,5,6 composite class, April 2016
What are the benefits of meditation & mindfulness?
Meditation & mindfulness is beneficial to do in schools for the following reasons;
- It helps children to focus in class
- It helps with expression, such as sharing & discussion in class
- Research shows positive changes in the brain of those that meditate on a regular basis
- It is a tool that children will have for life to manage the inevitable ups & downs
What are some of the causes of stress & anxiety in children
Some of the situations that can lead to anxiety & stress in kids are;
- Change, e.g., new home, school, stepfamilies, parents separating
- Loss of a loved one such as a parent or grandparent, which can cause grief
- Not enough creative play at home
What are some the signs of a child that may be stressed or anxious?
Stress & anxiety can result in the following;
- Inability to focus on a task
- Aggression, e.g., hitting, yelling
- Withdrawal, e.g., quiet, difficulty socialising
- Attention seeking behaviour
- Talking a lot
- Frequent crying
- Frequently feeling unwell
- Looking fearful, pale, tired
- Looking distant /in another world/distracted
How can meditation assist with self-esteem?
When children are taught to meditate they learn about;
- Creating a ritual to honour their need for inner peace
- Connecting back to self for inner reflection and healing
This practice creates a sense of self-worth and improves self-esteem, which in turn can create confidence
When we value ourselves we don’t rely on approval from others and are less likely to be susceptible to peer group pressure
When we are confident and relaxed we become more resilient, helping us to cope better through life’s ups and downs.
For children this can help them to accept and cope with change, such as change of home, school, family situation etc.