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Mindful Kids Pilot Project Spring 2017 

"There is a lot going on in the world today to stress kids out and to add to their already full plates"

Rebecca Hope, mother of 3

Mindfulness for Children and Youth: A Review of the Literature with an Argument for School-Based Implementation


 http://cjc-rcc.ucalgary.ca/cjc/index.php/rcc/article/view/1547

Over the past 10 plus years I have been practicing and researching the importance of mindfulness, and most recently mindfulness in the classroom. Through my research and training I have added an important program to my list of offerings called Mindfully Aware Kids in Education (MAKE).  MAKE is an 4-8 week curriculum for students K - 12 modeled on the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) and The Mindful Educator programs, along with my experience and training as a mindfulness instructor. 
The field of mindfulness training for K - 12 students is young, but the current research points to benefits for children and adolescents similar to the benefits for adults.  School-based mindfulness training appears to offer a means for students to cultivate attentional skills as well as an array of other aptitudes that may enhance their capacity to cope with physical, psychological and academic challenges.  Potential benefits include:  strengthening self-regulation and impulse control, compassion cultivation, alleviating the effects of stress and the ability to nurture their own inner resilience.
These benefits directly align with many of the DSBN’s and NCDSB's strategic mandates including the continual improvement of mental health and well-being of students and staff, providing opportunities to support mental health and well-being, and the enhancement of innovative programs and initiatives that are relevant and responsive to diverse student needs. The MAKE program also supports Social Emotional Learning programs that are already in existence within the schools and can help create proactive strategies to help students mentally prepare for high stakes assessment including EQOA’s.

 
The MAKE program offers age appropriate mindfulness and inquiry-based practices for school aged children.  It focuses on developing mindful awareness to support participants in responding rather than reacting to difficult situations and in cultivating peace and happiness.


Goals include mindful learning (experiential awareness of mind-body practices) as a way to: develop cognitive and emotional skills; guide students to ‘stop’, ‘tune in’, ‘pay attention to what’s inside’, and teach constructive rest as a useful catalyst in cognitive learning.  The curriculum has been developed to be completely secular with stress reduction, self regulation, anxiety control and ability to focus better as the objective of the lesson plans.

 
Session are 15 - 20 minutes twice a week for 4- 8 weeks depending on the setting and grade level and is directly taught by myself whom has cultivated a personal authentic mindfulness practice and understands some of the nuances that can come up when learning mindfulness.  In order to teach mindfulness, one needs to deeply understand it through a committed practice themselves.  Each lesson that is taught is carefully adapted to be relevant to the audience and to be presented in a way that can be understood and practised independently.  This requires a lot of intuition in knowing how to best get the message to the class, as well as understanding the obstacles that may be present to the individuals for being ready to try.  The program I teach can also integrate a parent’s (and teachers) workshop to include the family into the program so that it can be supported in the home environment.  


I would like the opportunity to introduce MAKE to you and discuss how it could be integrated into your school.  In our discussion we can talk about the potential outcomes of a program like this, the curriculum details, the costs, how we can find funding and how we can introduce the program to the teacher and parent body.  Often an introduction to the parent council committee is an excellent way of beginning.  I'd be happy to come in and provide a 15 minute synopsis of the curriculum and answer any questions. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have.     I look forward to hearing from you in regards to a suggested meeting date.  Reach out to me at;  themindfulfamily@gmail.com


(Example of pricing: A 8 week program, that includes two 15 - 20  minute visits into 5 classrooms at your school per week costs approximately $2000.  This is a general cost and can be adjusted based on different needs of the school and funding available.)  We can reach approximately 125 students and 5 teachers.  The cost equates to about $15.50 per student for the entire program.

Mindfully Aware Kids in Education