By Amanda Huskey
Over the past few years, mindfulness has been a hot topic among Westtown School’s Lower School teachers and students. For the past two school years, my second grade classes have had weekly mindfulness sessions with a teacher hired from outside our school. It became obvious that both myself and the students were looking forward to the sessions each week. It seemed logical that the next step would be to learn to lead mindfulness lessons on my own. This past summer and fall, several of my colleagues and I participated in an online course called, Mindfulness Fundamentals, provided by MindfulSchools.org.
Right away I noticed that I was increasing my self-awareness and endurance for mindful breathing. A second highlight of the course was being part of a smaller cohort of teachers, all of whom corresponded with one another each week. Through this dialogue, we could share ideas and hear how mindfulness was used in classrooms at other schools. Through one of these conversations, my teaching partner, Susan Proctor, heard positive feedback about the MindUp Curriculum, a program for students in pre-K to second grade. This program seems very user friendly and we are excited to start using it in the second half of the school year. The lesson plans in MindUp include child-friendly information about brain research, hands-on activities for class projects, literature connections for classroom read alouds, and connections to the five senses, which should appeal to our younger students. I hope that the combination of my new understanding of mindfulness from personal experience combined with this curriculum will lead to worthwhile mindfulness sessions that we can all look forward to.