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Practicing Presence in Our Busy Classrooms: Tools to Support Mindfulness and Why It’s Vital

Written by Sherrie Collins, Continuing Education Instructor



"Training your mind to be in the present moment is the number one key to making healthier choices." ~ Susan Albers

When I think of mindfulness, I think of the idea of peace, calm, a clear mind, and presence. As the quote states above, mindfulness practices help us make healthier choices that support overall wellness. According to an article published in PBS by Frank Graff, adults make around 35,000 choices every day.


I would say, as a teacher, I make quite a few more, so I believe it’s pretty important that the majority of those choices be healthy and/or positive since our choices also impact so many impressionable minds.  


Unfortunately, when I walk into some classrooms these days I don’t see the calm or present minds that would suggest this is happening as much as we would like. Teachers are overwhelmed, demands are increasing, and students are reacting to the ever changing world they are growing up in. I believe, more than ever, that bringing our students and teachers the practices of mindfulness is vital to counteracting the impacts of these things.




Now, I am not saying that adding mindfulness to your day will magically make your next meeting be canceled. 


But what I am saying is that having a practice can help reduce the impact these things have, enabling us to better manage them through better decision-making, efficient time management and prioritization, and emotional regulation.


As a teacher (or parent), at this point you may be asking, “But how can I do one more thing when there is already such limited time?”


How Mindfulness Supports Student Well-Being


So, where to start?


When I brought these practices to my students I started with noticing the breath. 


Deep breaths are more powerful than you might know! Mindful breathing can calm the mind, refocus the brain and body, and can help regulate emotions.


In Challenge to Change's Kids Yoga and Mindfulness Teacher Training, they teach how the breath can calm the mind, refocus the brain and body, and help regulate emotions.




My former C2C colleague, Melissa Hyde, described this best in her blog post about the Seated Practice:


“We live in a world that celebrates busyness and constant movement. Yet we expect children to sit for prolonged periods of time in school and to be attentive while doing so. Not only that, but we expect them to inherently know how to do these things.”


Challenge to Change incorporates the breath in the very first part of practice, known as the Seated practice.


The Seated Practice begins any lesson and gives students the time to connect to their breath. Breathwork is the foundation of any mindful practice. Breathing calms us and reminds us that we are fundamentally safe and alive.


In addition, through modeling and teaching these practices to our students, we can enable them to do the same, likely reducing behaviors that caused us stress and loss of time in the first place.



Subscribe to our YouTube Channel for the latest mindfulness videos!


Tools to Support Mindfulness


Mindfulness practices and tools can transform a classroom and allow students to learn and develop so many social-emotional skills that we truly believe the students who learn these practices will benefit from into adulthood. 


Isn’t this what we want for our students? To help them practice the skills and learn the tools needed to be responsible, successful, and healthy adults?


Here are some other tools that will help you support mindfulness in the classroom:


Yoga and Mindfulness Resource Center


Wouldn't it be nice if you can get all the best yoga and mindfulness resources in one place?


Challenge to Change's Yoga and Mindfulness Resource Center variety of mindfulness practices, including press and play yoga and mindfulness instructional videos, card decks, SEL Printables, and full lesson plans.


It’s the one-stop shop for classrooms, learning communities, daycares and homeschoolers.





PLUS 2 NEW RESOURCES every month! This month's FREE resource is My Daily Intentions Printable Worksheet.



Continuing Education Digital, On-Demand Classes


Our continuing education courses are not only beneficial for individuals looking to expand their knowledge but also for parents and homeschoolers. They offer a flexible and accessible way to learn and grow without the commitment of a full degree program. We offer educational opportunities for 1, 2, and 3 licensure renewal or graduate credit.



You will walk away feeling empowered to utilize these yoga and mindfulness techniques to regulate emotions, reduce conduct problems, and improve academic success into your learning community.


Yoga in the Schools Digital On-Demand Program


The Yoga in the Schools program is Challenge to Change’s signature evidence-based yoga and mindfulness program customized to Pre-K, Elementary, Middle School, and High School levels.


The Yoga in the Schools signature 5 Parts of Practice are expertly delivered by a Challenge to Change, Inc. 95-Hour Youth Yoga Teacher Certified Yoga in the Schools Instructor.


Both our live and digital, on-demand options allow the unique gift of learning mindfulness with your students.


With evidence-based research, yoga, and mindfulness practices, Yoga in the Schools programming gives everyone the mindset and skills needed to lead a fulfilling life.


How do you practice presence and mindfulness in your classroom? Leave a comment below!


Peace,

Sherrie




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