Updated: Apr 20, 2021
Mindfulness is a critical component of intentional learning and is deep-seated in the classroom curriculum. According to research, mindfulness skills improve memory, organizational skills, reading and math scores.
All of this gives students the tools they need to handle toxic stress in the classroom.
What is the state of mindfulness?
In the classroom, the state of mindfulness is the basic ability to be fully present. The student is aware of where they are and what they’re doing.
It’s about learning to train the mind and pay attention to the present without dwelling on what has happened in the past — or even worry about the future.
There are many benefits that mindfulness in the classroom brings like:
Dr. Richie Davidson’s research reflects that mindfulness shrinks the amygdala and thickens the prefrontal cortex. Mindfulness helps strengthen the connection between parts of the brain that support attention and concentration. As a result, the amygdala’s capacity to hijack the thinking parts of the brain is reduced.
Mindfulness and self-regulation can translate into improved academics. And this is very true for children coping with multiple ACES.
A study showed that the mindfulness group scored higher on a standardized vocabulary/literacy assessment than the control group.
According to a couple of studies by Momentous Institute, the impact of mindfulness practices on prekindergarten students’ self-regulation and academic performance was measured.
It revealed that prekindergarten students who got a year-long mindfulness curriculum showed greater improvements in working memory and capacity to plan and organize.
Students scored higher on a standardized vocabulary/literacy assessment too.
In the same study, the 5th-grade students’ levels of empathy predicted their scores on standardized reading and math assessments.
Enhanced management of internal worlds
Getting rid of toxic stresses hope to improve protective relationships in children’s lives. Additionally, it also helps them learn how to regulate their nervous system.
Mindfulness in the classroom helps children manage their internal world regardless.
Different techniques of breathing help children “settle their glitter.”
Mindfulness, when paired with social-emotional health & intentional learning, can help them understand and manage their feelings, reactions and relationships.
How to embrace mindfulness in the classroom?
Anxious and stressful minds have shallow breaths. By deep breathing, you can calm both your body and mind. Kids are given balloons to inflate or try simple breathing techniques for the same.
Through Sensory Experiences
Sensory experiences help the kids focus and relax. In the classroom, teachers can play relaxing music or other calming sounds. Even the sounds of nature have a calming effect. Additionally, encouraging imaginative play with Play-doh, clay, shaving cream, or Slime adds to the sensory experiences.
Through Guided Imagery
A child’s imagination is developed via guided imagery, and this helps integrate learning with prior knowledge. In an intentional learning curriculum, experiential learning is embraced. Pretend plays & imagination are fostered. Relaxing stories form a part of the same.
Humans were born to move constantly. Think of the hunting cavemen. Intentional learning embraces movement into your classroom and lets students tap into their natural way of learning. This can be done through yoga postures, outdoor play, or even fun dancing!
This also gives physical benefits like:
lower heart rate
improved immune function
reduced physical stress responses
It is a combination of these techniques and experiences that helps embrace mindfulness for the younger generation classroom.