This past year has highlighted the growing need for social-emotional learning and mindfulness curriculum in schools. But how can we help students understand what mindfulness is, and how to practice it?
We are excited to announce that we’re working on an Intro to Mindfulness program that will introduce the key concepts of mindfulness, and help students develop and practice mindfulness skills that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.
MEET MEGHAN LEIGHTON
Meghan Leighton currently works in a local school district as a certified educator in Massachusetts. She has spent the last 20 years teaching students of all ages mindfulness, social-emotional learning, and yoga.
Meghan is excited to bring the lessons she has carefully worked to create and develop over the years into a digital format with PLT4M.
Each mindfulness lesson is a guided 20 minute session. Each lesson will typically have some combination of 4 different parts.
- Centering – allowing us to arrive and be present in our lesson together
- Focus Topic Breakdown – learning about the background and breakdown of different elements of mindfulness
- Movement – warming ourselves up and helping us to get ready for our full practice
- Mindfulness Practice – putting mindfulness into action and building skills that we can continue using outside of class
Mindfulness is paying attention to what’s happening on purpose with kindness, curiosity, without judgment.
Has anyone ever asked you to pay attention? More importantly, has anyone ever taught you how to pay attention? Our attention can be trained. It is okay if you have never been taught to pay attention, but mindfulness can be a helpful tool in this technique of paying attention.
Mindfulness dates back thousands of years to Asia. More recently, about 30-40 years ago, scientists started studying the power of mindfulness in the United States.
John Kabat-Zinn, PhD was the pioneer behind mindfulness research and training. Dr. Kabat-Zinn led the way to bring mindfulness into the hospital at Umass Dartmouth. He wanted to see if mindfulness could help patients suffering from anxiety, depression, and mood disorders. The results were promising.
Now that research has continued, mindfulness is being brought into schools, hospitals, prisons, companies, and corporations. Even Google has a program called “Search Inside Yourself” where they teach people about mindfulness and give them tools to be happier and healthier.
So why is it becoming so popular?
Scientists have done extensive research on the neuroscience (brain science) on individuals who practice mindfulness to understand the benefits. Studies have shown that mindfulness:
1) Improves focus & attention
2) Improves sleep
3) Helps with emotional regulation
4) Builds compassion for others and ourselves
We can know and read about mindfulness, but to experience mindfulness is where the mind training comes in.
We can be mindful of so many different things. We can be aware of our breath, feelings and body sensations, sounds, tastes, and really anything happening in the present moment. When we pay attention to anything in the present moment, we experience mindfulness.
Here is where we can put it into practice and work to start ‘paying attention’ to all of the different things around us. It takes practice.
WRAP UP & SEND OFF
After each lesson, students are sent off with a tip to try and carry their mindfulness practice past the lesson. Check out the example from lesson 1:
Thank you for joining us in this first lesson of mindfulness. As we discussed, mindfulness training is something we can practice throughout our day and week. It is okay to start small because even a little mindfulness practice can go a long way.
So now that we have practiced a little mindful listening together, try it on your own. Pick a place to listen and see what you notice. It can be the first thing when you wake up, on your walk to school, in the lunch line, or anywhere throughout your day. Give it a shot for just 2-3 minutes and see what you notice.
Thanks again, and we will see you next time!
JUST THE START
If you liked this first lesson, know that PLT4M is launching this program with a fully-developed curriculum slate. Check out some of the other lesson topics that will be included in this program!