One of the boys in our class has difficulty processing information and gets quite flustered at times. In the past when he has become worked up it can escalate and he can become quite unresponsive. I have seen him a number of times, eyes closed deep belly breathing. He does this on the mat or wherever he is at the time. The class were worried at first when they saw him like this but since I have explained what he is doing, they give him the space he needs, and he is soon back with us in his smiley state. This has become less and less frequent and I truly believe it was the tool he needed to take control of his emotions and spiralling thoughts.
Early this year we had a lockdown at school. The doors to the classroom were locked and we were all sitting down low on the carpet unsure of exactly what was happening outside. The children were scared. A few were crying, and I was trying to keep everyone clam. At one point there were about 4 police officers that ran through the back toilets connected to our classroom. That’s when I heard a child say “Let’s do some mindfulness to calm us down.” So, there we all sat, taking some deep mindful breaths in the middle of the chaos happening outside. It really did help us all.
We had been doing mindfulness in class quite regularly. The children were enjoying it. It was the morning of our school athletics day and a boy in my class was feeling very anxious about how he was going to go in his races. As we were all piling out the door ready to head out to the field, he started pleading with me to do a class mindfulness session to help him relax. We didn’t have time to do a formal mindfulness meditation, but we were able to talk about some mindfulness techniques could do to manage his nerves while he was waiting for his race. I thought it was great that he could recognise his emotions and saw mindfulness as a way to help regulate how he was feeling.
I had a student who was very nervous to do her maths assessment. The previous term she had cried during testing. This time she did very well and hardly seemed nervous at all. Later she told me that prior to the test she had taken a moment to practice her mindfulness and was able to calm her nerves.
Fiona McAree – Deputy Principal at Bairds Mainfreight Primary, Otara, Auckland
Mindfulness is certainly having an impact at Baverstock Oaks and complementing our Restorative Practices. All 4 Senior Leaders who attended the training have a class that we have worked with this term. We have 3 Y4/5 classes and 1 Y2/3 class. Each week on the Friday we meet to go over the following week’s lesson. We have a PowerPoint for each lesson and a modelling book so the class can look back on what we have discussed and done in previous lessons. This week we have completed Lesson 6 which was our favourite. We love the way each lesson links back to what they have previously covered. The class I am working with are really embracing mindfulness as are the parents. A parent stopped in the drop off zone the other week and thanked me for all the things her son is learning in mindfulness and sharing with his family.
The class I am working with the other day used mindful movements breathing circles prior to their weekly 5-minute basic facts test. 75% of them did their best score ever.
One class created this video about their mindfulness training and this was only after a few lessons.
Genée Crowley – Principal, Baverstock Oaks School, Auckland
By the end of week 1 a calm had descended across the school. In week 2 we noted boys that would normally take their anger out on others walking away in the playground and allowing themselves to cry. This week we have seen higher levels of focus on what we are learning right now. We are very very pleased so far with the implementation of this special project, everyone is on board. Yesterday I visited a class to do some Pausing myself. It was such a privilege and made me feel proud that we have made this move to be a Pause Breathe and Smile kura.
It is early days yet, and we have decided to run a 1-year research project on this programme to ensure that our journey is recorded and perhaps could help others. Next week we will be sharing some breathing techniques with our whanau who are keen to know more.
Billie-Jean Potaka Ayton – Principal, Kaiti School, Gisborne