Organization Name: Mindfulness Everyday
Program Name: MindUp as part of a school wide mindfulness program (K-8)
Program Presenter: Karen Davis, Associate teacher Mindfulness Everyday and Vice Principal at Bracebridge Public School, TLDSB
What happened: The importance of establishing a community of learners within schools to enhance mental well being, create a compassionate school environment and improve student achievement was explained. The lesson on Gratitude from the MindUp program, which has an emphasis on social and emotional learning skills that link cognitive neuroscience, positive psychology and mindfulness training, was taught and a model of how to embed gratitude within the school community was explained. Participants experienced a mindfulness practice which included thinking about what they might be grateful for, followed by a circle in which about 10 of the 30 or so participants shared what they were grateful for.
Several examples were shared of how schools used mindfulness to build a positive school community:
- A Grateful YouTube song was played, the song having motivated a school to choose gratitude as the theme for a Valentine’s Day assembly
- A student-made PowerPoint about gratitude in the Olympics was shown
- A picture of a paper chain containing links expressing each student and staff member’s reason for gratitude was shown
Modern Mindfulness For Schools
Organization Name: The Center for Mindful Living
Program Name: Modern Mindfulness (K-8)
Program Presenter: Frances Brown
What happened: Modern Mindfulness uses interactive software to teach mindfulness. The demonstration was geared for grade 2 students. It began with an introduction to the lesson on relaxation, followed by asking a few students “How do you relax?” With the help of a student “Leader of the Day”, the software guides students into a sitting posture to ready themselves for a 5 minute audio lesson on “Breathe and relax”. We had some sound problems for this part, not because of the software, but rather the sound system. After this practice, the software asked 3 questions which the student “Leader of the Day” answered. A corresponding Mindful Message was then displayed.
Mindfulness Without Borders
Organization Name: Mindfulness Without Borders
Program Name: Mindfulness Ambassador Council (MAC) for Youth (middle and high school)
Program Presenter: Ronit Jinich, Senior Facilitator & Advisor Educational Programs
What happened: Mindfulness Without Borders uses the age-old practice of council to inspire and engage high school students to develop mindfulness-based social and emotional competencies. Ten participants received a handout of the lesson plan on Open-Mindedness. Participants engaged in a 3-minute breathing practice to bring their focus into the present moment; a check-in question (to inform the facilitator of the group mood), and reading of the lesson theme. The participants were asked to respond to two council questions that were crafted to reinforce the concept of open-mindedness, including:
- What circumstances cause you to dig in your heels?
- Share a time when you were open to a new experience and it blew you away
At the conclusion of the group dialogue, the participants practiced a guided mindful listening meditation. To close the council, members stood in a circle and shared one thing that they witnessed during the lesson.
Learning to Breathe
– writeup to follow
Mindfulness in the Post-modern Academy
Session: Post-Secondary Group
Presenter: Deborah Orr, Assoc. Professor, York University
Some 2,500 years ago Siddhartha Gautama deconstructed his ‘self’ initiating, among many things, a philosophical perspective which anticipates Western post-modernism. This presentation introduced that broader intellectual context of mindfulness and indicated some directions in which it might be taken in the academic context. As time and context did not allow for a full development of my topic, I referenced some useful introductory material including David Loy’s Money, Sex, War, Karma: Notes for a Buddhist Revolution (Wisdom, 2008) and Oren Ergas’ “Mindfulness in Education at the Intersection of Science, Religion, and Healing”, Critical Studies in Education, 55:1, 58-72, http://dx.10.1080/17508487.2014.858643.
The Mindfulness and Contemplative Education website was also introduced. See http://www.contemplativeeducation.ca to register and connect with others who share your interests.
Student Health Initiative
– writeup to follow