Mindfulness in the classroom: creating a safe and relaxed learning environment
By Liene Salmina, Admissions, Advancement and Marketing Assistant
As an IB world school, ISR’s daily life is grounded in the IB Learner Profiles, which entails gaining and improving academic, social, emotional and physical skills. Practicing Mindfulness as part of the students’ daily routine helps them become Balanced, Reflective and Knowledgeable people.
Mindfulness and its practices are getting more and more popular around the globe, not only for adults but for children as well. More and more researched-based professional materials are being made available for schools to implement Mindfulness routines. ISR Grade 5 mainly uses Smiling Mind material for their daily mindfulness routine.
Although it is nothing new, it is important to be aware of the environment and culture around us and to remember that it is our responsibility to take care of our wellbeing. Nowadays, we all face a much bigger challenge to align our actions with our needs, our brain constantly consuming more and more information.
This year, Grade 5 is integrating daily mindfulness sessions and Mindfulness is being offered as an after school activity. Grade 5 Support Teacher Mrs Anete Lapčenoka explains why Mindfulness sessions have been implemented: “Our mindset plays a big role in our life and I feel that we need to practise it frequently to develop resilience to stress, listen to our bodies and regulate our emotions. It is manageable to incorporate a 6-minute mindfulness session every day in your class as Grade 5 students are practising it now. I am grateful for my colleague, Grade 5 Homeroom teacher Ms Kathryn Harjula for introducing these Mindfulness sessions and Say Something Nice practices into our class. During my Growth Mindset Activities ASAA on Fridays, we focus on various ways to learn about self-awareness, empathy, being grateful, breathing techniques, mindful communication with ourselves and others paying attention to the words and phrases we use daily. We are doing a lot of reflective work where students can share their perspectives in a friendly environment. I see how students gradually overcome their insecurities and challenging situations by applying the techniques that we have practised in class.”
At the beginning of the school year, Grade 5 students had mindfulness sessions twice a week. Recently, sessions have been increased until 3 due to student request. It is interesting to see that students are appreciating and finding these sessions helpful. In a short survey among Grade 5 students, all of them indicated that they are willing to continue Mindfulness sessions and explained what they find valuable about them:
Mindfulness makes me feel like everything is ok, and I feel relaxed. It helps me not feel so stressed and I want to continue mindfulness.
I like that it helps me calm down. x3
It helps me to think, come down and I would like to have this kind of lessons.
I feel good and it helps me to learn. x3
It helps to relax and take a break from learning. During the mindfulness, all the bad stuff go away.
It helped me to make decisions that I thought were right, and I want to continue doing mindfulness.
It makes me forget all the negative things. I want to continue these sessions.
I believe we should continue mindfulness, it helps with relaxation. x3
I want to continue mindfulness because due to it I become more focused.
It is great to start the day with mindfulness.
It makes me calmer and less tired. We should continue but in divided (half class) groups. X2
Mindfulness gives me more energy to work hard, it helps me.
It makes me feel happy, relaxed and be aware of how I feel. It helps me to concentrate on learning and takes away from other things.
It helps me get fresh, especially when I feel sleepy. I want to continue.
Integrating Mindfulness sessions and yoga classes in the school’s curriculum are becoming a common tendency among modern schools around the world. ISR aims to provide the best education to students, and to develop the “whole child” through its academic programme and way beyond that.