With a New Year comes resolutions and fresh starts. You might be starting 2023 by implementing new routines and fresh starts in your classroom. If you aren't already incorporating mindfulness practices, we encourage you to give them a try!
Mindfulness is the act of paying attention to your body, your thinking, and the environment around you. Practicing mindfulness is a simple and powerful process to help quiet the mind and reduce stress.
In the classroom, this concept can help students who have a hard time paying attention, feel anxious, or struggle to control their emotions. Teachers find mindfulness beneficial during transition times when kids often have trouble shifting their focus between tasks.
The goal of mindfulness is to teach children to notice their feelings and learn how to best control them, which is a life skill for everyone! Here are some easy activities you can begin implementing with your students today:
Yoga - Yoga provides students with time to calmly move their bodies. This is a great activity to use to start the day, at the beginning of a class period, or when returning from lunch. Try these wonderful child-friendly yoga videos!
Meditation - Meditation is an incredible tool for managing stress and anxiety. Having a moment of stillness helps to prepare the brain for new learning. Introduce your students to these kid-appropriate meditation videos.
Listening Walk - Sometimes a walk outside or around the school is the best mind-clearing activity. As you walk, direct children to focus, listen carefully, and observe what’s happening while they move through the different spaces.
Mandala Color Page - Mandala coloring can be therapeutic. This activity is known to promote relaxation and foster concentration. Many free color sheets can be found online. Here are a couple for your quick reference! I usually provided time for elementary kids to color after lunch for a few minutes. When I taught middle school I would allow this time on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at the beginning of class.
Typing - I found my students loved the time we spent each day doing typing practice on this typing website! We put on calming music as they sat quietly working on their typing skills. The class often expressed this was one of the most relaxing times of their day.
Reflecting Journal - Give students time to free-write. Don’t set limits on the content or format of their writing, just encourage them to express themselves any way they choose. They can make lists, write poems or essays or letters they would like to send, or simply jot down words or phrases. This can be done digitally or in a notebook. For those students that were stuck on what to write, I found this list of journal prompts to be successful.