by Ms. Heather Sandquist
Mindfulness has become an integral part of many of the classes at the Junior School. A number of teachers incorporate various mindful activities into their daily schedule. Students can be found practicing breathing exercises, trying yoga poses, visualizing and indulging in mindful eating. After practicing mindfulness on a regular basis, students find that they are better able to manage themselves throughout the day.
This week we were invited to teach mindfulness to Grade 9 and Grade 11 students at the Senior School. Some of my Grade 4 students led the older students through a variety of mindful activities ranging from a visualization, mindful eating, yoga, mindful quotes and drawing. It was empowering for the Grade 4 students to lead older students. They loved this leadership opportunity and I was immensely proud of them. It was an amazing opportunity for me to be in the background and watch the children demonstrate their passion for mindfulness. They hope to lead again in the near future.
“Mindfulness to me is being peaceful and letting go of everything in the outside world. Teaching to the Senior School students was important to me because I am passionate about mindful time and I think that everyone should do it at least once a day. I read out mindful quotes to the Senior School students and then had them write or draw their feelings, emotions or thoughts on a card. Some students wrote various words, such as peace, calmness and luminous. They seemed to enjoy this time because they were quiet and layed down on the carpet in a large circle. I enjoyed this experience. It was fun and it felt good to be teaching other people.”
“Mindfulness to me is calming. It helps me recuperate and regenerate. It helps me take my mind off of stuff. It keeps me present. Teaching to the Senior School students was important because I can teach people to be mindful. It is something that I like to do so it was important for me to teach this to others. I led mindful eating with the Grade 9 students. I gave the students Life Savers candy. It went well. I had the students sit in a circle and simply focus on the taste and sensation of the Life Saver. Some students laughed; perhaps it was something new for them. I don’t think they do mindful eating very much. I think it went well and would love to have another opportunity to teach others. I would love to teach at the Middle School where my sister is in Grade 6.”
“Mindfulness to me is a way to calm myself when I am feeling really excited or my thoughts are going in different directions. It calms me and brings me to the present moment. Teaching to the Senior School students was important to me because I wanted to try teaching older people other than my peers. I wanted to experience the difference of teaching Senior School students and teachers. I taught a series of mindful yoga poses. I explained and modelled each pose and discussed the value of how they help become mindful. Overall the students did pretty well. They participated and were respectful. Now that I have taught the Senior School students I feel more experienced in mindfulness because I have taught mindfulness to different types of students. It was really fun!”
“Mindfulness is important to me because it is a way to wind down after recess or when I am physically active. It really works for me because I have a really busy schedule with sports. I need something to calm me down and to help me rest. It is really important to me because I really need it. Teaching to the Senior School students was important to me because it was a way of showing how passionate I am about mindfulness. It is also just a way to make me feel really proud of myself. I didn’t want to miss this opportunity. I thought it would be awesome to teach mindfulness and to plant a seed in their minds. I prepared a visualization that I called ‘the special tree house’. I got that idea from a visualization that I taught my mom. I also offered the loving kindness metta and did the closure piece. I think most of the Senior School students enjoyed this experience. To some it seemed like it was something new to them. When I got up to teach it was different than I thought it would be. The students were were way bigger and I think that I would probably teach again. It felt really good when I was finished. I really enjoyed the experience.”