We hear plenty about mindfulness these days, but what does it really mean – and how is it helpful in an early learning environment?
Put simply, mindfulness is paying attention in the moment, not in an intense concentrated way, but in a relaxed, open-minded manner. There is growing evidence that teaching mindfulness to children from an early age can help them learn to calm their minds and bodies. This assists with everything from self-confidence, focus and patience to emotional regulation and learning to handle stress later in life.
With today’s children living increasingly busy, scheduled lives, mindfulness is a terrific technique to learn to master. Through regular practice, mindfulness helps create an ideal environment for children to learn and develop.
Age-appropriate examples of mindfulness range from taking deep, purposeful breaths – often called ‘belly breathing’ – to planned activities such as yoga, meditation, or mindful nature walks, where children stroll slowly, regularly stopping to notice and describe different sounds, sights, and smells, such as rustling leaves, insects, birds or the surface they’re walking upon.
Each Young Academics centre will undertake its own activities to be more mindful in May, and if you’re looking for ideas or guidance to help practice mindfulness with your children at home, just ask your child’s educators for simple tips and tricks.