Last Saturday, I was fortunate enough to spend the day with other educators from around WNY and Canada discussing mindfulness and our schools. We held our 3rd annual “Mindfulness Conversations” event. I love this event because it was put together by teachers, professors, and counselors who see the importance of incorporating mindfulness into schools. The presentations are full of great information, but what I love more are the conversations that the presenters and attendees engage in. It is a morning full of people sharing what they do to incorporate mindfulness into along with what they have found to work and not to work.
This year, we started the event by discussing “What is Mindfulness?”. Many of the people who attend this event are at different places with mindfulness. Some are just learning about it, while others have practiced it and used it in their profession for years. We then shared information about how to practice mindfulness for yourself, as this is so important if you are going to be using it with students. Finally, we discussed a position paper titled, “Mindful Awareness Education in Schools: Creating Programs of Integrity”, that highlighted the things to really consider when incorporating a mindfulness curriculum into your school or classroom. Points discussed were things such as having research and science based information when creating your programs, connecting to standards, not imposing religion, and many others.
Mindfulness has become a buzzword with materials and books popping up everywhere. While this has helped to bring the awareness to mindfulness, it is not always the best way to start. Keeping the integrity of mindfulness when implementing it is so important. As with anything, having research behind the techniques and exercises are important. There are a lot of things about your students that you must consider as well.
Some of the sessions that we offered at the event were recorded and are posted to YouTube. I presented on how to get mindfulness started in your classroom. The link to the video is here. (The recording is not professional or high quality. We were making do with our iPhones, so please pardon the few distractions). You can search Mindfulness Conversations 2017 to see all of the posted presentations from the event.
This week, as we are all preparing to go back to school, I will be posting daily about how I began to incorporate mindfulness into my classroom. I have shared some of my tips and tricks already, but will take them a bit more step by step.