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Giving meaning to mindfulness

February 14, 2019

Students practicing relaxation and visualization.Is it possible to teach energetic young children mindfulness? Absolutely, according to leaders in the South Glens Falls CSD. And by starting young, district leaders hope students will have skills that help them throughout their entire education and life.

Mindfulness, or the practice of maintaining a complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis, can be hard to learn. But practices helps. And by adding moments of practice into the everyday routine at Ballard Elementary School, kids are well on their way to a more focused state of being.

“We are always looking to improve the social-emotional health of students and staff,” said Ballard Elementary School Principal Michael Huchro. “And if we can implement some small moments each day to remember to breathe and focus on just one thing (the task at hand), it will carry over to academics and other areas of life as well.”

To kick off the school’s focus on mindfulness, “The Mindful Teacher” Vicki Savini recently visited Ballard (as well as Tanglewood Elementary School earlier this year) to share some best practices for breathing, stretching, visualizing and coloring.

During her time at Ballard, local educator Savini shared some of the things she does in her own classroom, which includes a “mindful time” after lunch and recess to help students regain attention and transition their minds and bodies back to a calm and focused place where they are ready to learn again.

Students practicing relaxation and visualization.Savini also shared books, videos and other practices that teachers can begin to incorporate into their classrooms to help students learn mindfulness, which she describes as getting away from “monkey mind” and focusing.

“Classes have already started implementing some mindfulness practices, such as mandala time to calm the mind and body, as well as time to re-center and get grounded using some breathing exercises,” said kindergarten teacher Dianne Petteys. “The ultimate goal is to help our students be as ready to learn as possible.”

Students in each grade level had the opportunity to spend time with Savini, and students practiced visualization and breathing exercises to relax and refocus their minds.

“I feel new,” one fifth-grade student shared after the short exercise, and another student added that he had really been able to relax.

“As we focus on student and staff wellness as a district, mindfulness must play a part,” Huchro said. “I’m hopeful that by giving our educators and students skills and tools they need, we will help them succeed.”

Category: Ballard News, District News