By Chua Mey-Ing, Teacher
To my mind, education transcends the acquisition of knowledge and academic skills. Mindfulness offers our children an opportunity to learn to develop true presence and to understand that love and happiness are grounded in the present moment. Mindfulness is the greatest gift we can offer our children. “
For parents or teachers who are keen to teach mindfulness to children, it is necessary for us to embody the practice. Children are reflections of their parents and teachers and by being the change is what will ultimately transform them.
Mindfulness is not another subject that we want to teach, so do not worry about your child understanding the mindfulness activities in a cerebral way. The experience itself does the work. Allow the activities to unfold and through repetition become a part of your child’s life. Mindfulness activities are all experiences and explorations.
I hope fellow teachers and parents will find these resources useful. There is no one right way to practice mindfulness. However, it is important to keep in mind where your children/students are developmentally and the context in which you are going to be using these resources.
Lastly, may these resources “help you plant the seeds of mindfulness in the garden of your own life and in the lives of the children you nurture. And may you, your family, your school, and your community reap a rich harvest of peace, contentment, and togetherness.” (Planting Seeds,by Thich Nhat Hanh and Plum Village Community)
1) The Mindful Child by Susan Kaiser Greenland
I tried this activity with my very weak 9 year-olds in school and they are able to relate to it immediately. More instructions can be found in the book.
Susan was a lawyer by profession, it was her children who inspired her to explore mindfulness.
2) Planting Seeds by Thich Nhat Hanh and the Plum Village community (comes with CD of songs)
A lovely reading for adults who are keen to teach mindfulness to children. Thay’s teachings are ever so warm and endearing.
I would give 5 stars out 5 for this book, which costs $40+. Available at Awareness Place and Kinokuniya
3) Sitting Still Like a Frog by Eline Snel (comes with CD)
She offers simple mindfulness practices to help children ages 5-12 deal with anxiety and handle difficult emotions.]
4) Belly Breathing Video (to arouse interest)
5) Mindfulness in Schools Project – Paws b Curriculum
This is a highly structured mindfulness curriculum for children aged 7-11. However, this is applicable only in the context of schools, not so much for parents.
But it is a good website to visit if you wish to read the current research findings on mindfulness in education, they offer some resources as well.
What I like about this team is that their trainers truly embrace mindfulness. They practice well. They walk the talk.
I would like to offer a few more video clips that explain the science of mindfulness in simplified animated version, suitable for older children and teens.
On “Mind”: http://viewpure.com/To1wAkYjnHU
On “Bluesky”: http://viewpure.com/DmqI1u72QLU
On “Expectations”: http://viewpure.com/7xAeJKgupPI